Maryam Y., 19 – FUNDED

Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Maryam Y. wants to work as an aerospace engineer and is studying Mechanical Engineering Technology at The University of North Texas.  “I incredibly blessed and appreciative of this grant,” says this New Face of Tech winner. “It not only helps with financial obligations but also advances my professional aspirations, giving me the motivation and drive to pursue my academic and professional objectives with newfound zeal and resolve.”

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

Being the New Face of Tech does not only mean an achievement, but it also means that no matter what stage I am in my career and life, I can always inspire other people to pursue whatever career they want — especially people who look like me (female and black) in STEM.

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

Companies should make sure they are providing equal opportunities to all genders, and this would lead to an increase in the visibility of the representation of women in these fields.

Celebrating and acknowledging the achievements of women in STEAM is another way to inspire the next generation of women and girls interested in positions that may have been dominated by men.

Mentorship for young girls and safe spaces in colleges — like with the Society of Women Engineers — also provides a safe space for women in engineering, tech, and more.

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

Some notable challenges that have contributed to my growth and resilience include adapting to a completely new environment and educational system as an international student. I also had to learn how to balance my school and workload as an engineering student and pay for part of my tuition, as foreign exchange funds from my home country kept getting scarce.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I stay motivated by creating a vision board and pasting it on the wall in my room so it can serve as an encouragement and reminder every day to keep pushing and working hard. I also share my goals with my parents and close friends so they can keep me accountable during the year or semester.

I also make sure I have days where I rest or do activities I enjoy to avoid burning out quickly.

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

I’ll be able to attend a professional conference that will help me network and advance in my career. Hopefully, I will get an internship offer that’s relevant to my major while making meaningful connections. It will also help in paying for part of my tuition.