Maria, 27 – FUNDED

“We should cherish our differences and unique backgrounds, not be ashamed of them,” says Maria, a Paliwal Club of 100 grant winner. “Homogeneous teams rarely create something outstanding — and diversity is often the only means by which to find creative approaches for solving problems.” In addition to contributing to the goal of making women feel welcome in every profession they chose, Maria’s dialed in to taking her electrical engineering educational background into outer space.

What is your professional dream?

I want to be a space electronics engineer to contribute to the progress in space exploration.

What does being in the Paliwal Club mean to you?

It means that someone believed in me and my dream. I am very grateful for this support and hope to share this feeling with other women in STEAM.

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

It is vital to offer individual support to girls and their choices. The 1000 Dreams Fund gives a great example: it helps you feel that there is room for you, your ideas, and your dreams. It is also essential to change the paradigm to this: Being a woman is STEAM is an advantage, not a hurdle.

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

One of the problems I faced was the lack of a supportive community of peers. I want to build a support network for other young women pursuing careers in the space industry. These relationships will encourage them during key opportunities and challenges in their careers.

How will this grant from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?

It will help me fund participation in the Space Studies Program. It is a summer course where students from different countries work on space projects. By bringing together our minds, ideas, and hard work, we want to speed up peaceful space exploration.