Neha Malepati, 20 – FUNDED

“Nothing you do is trivial — every small step you take will amount to something incredible and you will be recognized for all your effort,” says Neha Malepati, a computer science student at Cornell University. This New Face of Tech winner dreams of working at the intersection of social good and technology to create accessible products that will improve the community.

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

I am incredibly honored to join this community! It’s inspiring to hear the stories of so many women who have similar stories to mine. I feel seen, heard, and known in the voices of those around me. I hope to carry on this mentality and continue empowering those around me!

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

I would not be where I am today without my mentors. They have uplifted me and made me feel seen, heard, and known. The best way to change the lack of representation is to ensure women have access to proper mentorship. Being the change you want to see and taking on mentees is how we can move forward in STEAM!

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

The biggest challenge I’ve faced is prioritizing myself. As a woman in tech, I’ve had to work twice as hard as my male counterparts to earn a seat at the table. Along the way, I’ve forgotten the importance of my mental health and the importance of having fun! I’ve learned the importance of taking care of myself and I’ve taken on new hobbies that allow me to be creatively fulfilled! I hope to maintain my work/life balance in the future and continue learning about new things!

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

My family has always been my rock — they’ve supported me throughout my journey as I’ve tried various career paths within research, entrepreneurship, and industry. Knowing that I have their support moving forward has given me the confidence to forge ahead!

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

The funding will decrease the burden of my college tuition and allow me to pursue more creative endeavors within technology. I hope to foster a community at the intersection of social good and technology where people of different backgrounds, abilities, and identities can come together and better themselves, each other, and the world around them.

The funding and the connections with the other awardees and my new mentor will allow me to be one step closer to my goal.