Kayla T., 18 – FUNDED

“Stay true to yourself, because that will always pay off in the end,” says Kayla T., a student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She’s majoring in public health because her dream is to work in the healthcare industry and conduct research in neurotechnology.

What does being the New Face of Tech mean to you?

It’s not only an honor, but it also means something far deeper than imagined — that my aspirations in the field of scientific exploration and technological advancement are still possible and validated. Young girls can be appreciated for their work, their progress, and their accomplishments, especially in a time in which we feel invalidated for our work.

Women are underrepresented in STEAM. How can we change this?

The most empowering message that we can send to women is that we validate their efforts and we understand that their obstacles need legitimate resources. We need to uplift female role models, create easier access to STEAM resources, and have positive discourse on how women should be tackling the obstacles they might face in a STEAM academic and career environment.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

I think there has always been a sense of impostor syndrome that comes along with pursuing a sector that is more male-dominated. Sometimes I didn’t feel like I belonged in the environment that I wanted to pursue, and that created doubt in my potential. Moreover, the lack of female-oriented resources has created financial and social difficulties for me to participate in key events. I hope these are challenges that can be solved for the future wave of women.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I’ve learned to remain incredibly organized and to incentivize my work whenever I can. Learning to have good organization can ultimately lead to better communication and proper focus that helps one succeed in an academic setting. But, I also allow myself a lot of breaks —such as watching feel-good movies or doing some creative tasks like crocheting — so I can take a step back and allow myself to relax and not burn out.

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund and HARMAN help you reach your goals?

It will aid in my progress to conduct more research in the laboratory as well as buy educational materials and fees to increase my academic success. This includes planning a great project that will involve hands-on clinical experience and technological creativity.