Nia H., 19 – FUNDED

Nia H. wants to become a computer engineer involved in the development of nanotechnology. On her path towards this professional dream, the New Face of Tech  winner is studying computer engineering at The College of New Jersey. “This win will positively impact my future career in tech by providing me with very helpful resources to develop confidence, and strategies to pursue leadership roles,” she says.

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

It means reaching for every available opportunity to gain experience and chances at leadership in the field of tech. It means pursuing knowledge and involvement in newly emerging yet powerful technological developments so that I may someday make my own impact in the field — and hopefully inspire my peers and other women to make a positive change, as well.

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

Encouraging girls at a young age to develop and pursue a deep interest in the STEAM fields, such as engineering, programming, and more, is crucial. Once the initial interest and passion is there, all it takes is a welcoming environment to foster individual confidence where women are given opportunities and the space to make mistakes without judgement. One of the best ways to achieve this can be through a simple mentorship program, where accomplished women in tech fields are able to positively influence aspiring female engineers who can learn from their experiences and not be afraid to ask questions.

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

One of my challenges has been the rigorous coursework that comes with being an undergraduate engineering major. Engineering is a field in which safety is priority and many courses which involve calculations and solving problems are graded to a much higher standard, where even a small mistake must be treated as a potentially fatal one. While this is important for students to understand the gravity of each process and engineering concept, it can be difficult to maintain good academic standing in an already competitive field.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I stay motivated by remembering that pursuing this degree and, eventually, a career in engineering is something that I’m interested in — not something that I’m obligated to complete. When I take a break from studying for my courses or completing project work, I like to take a step back and do some research on topics that interest me, but that are still related to the tech field, such as new developments or the abstracts of newly published journal articles.

It’s also helpful to communicate with my professors when I need guidance or extra help, so that I don’t spend too much time agonizing over a single topic or subject that I’m struggling with. Studying engineering can only be enjoyable when I’m able to fully understand what I’m doing and studying. So when I reach a block, I do my best to figure out what I am missing.

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

It will help me reach my goals by allowing me to utilize additional resources such as extra courses and materials without being worried about the financial aspect.