Olivia, 21 – FUNDED

Young women are underrepresented in science and the arts, or STEAM. Olivia Park is a winner of 1,000 Dreams Fund and HARMAN’s #NewFaceof Tech challenge and wants to be a role model for other women chasing their STEAM dreams. A sophomore at Cooper Union, majoring in Mechanical Engineering, Olivia hopes to become a professor and to inspire others with her journey.

What is your professional dream?

I want to become a mechanical engineering professor, so that I can spread the love and passion for STEAM and to share the skills and knowledge I have to others.

What does being the #NewFaceofTech mean to you?

It means that I could serve as an example and an inspiration for those who are chasing their dreams, no matter what the circumstances and limitations they might have.

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

Faith, equality and time. Women are still discriminated and underrepresented in the STEAM field and are seen as lacking talent or skill. We need to keep pushing for our rights and our skills; not just so that we can prove that we are capable but also so that we can serve as inspiration for younger generations and to share the talents and knowledge we have.

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

I’ve always been looked down upon. I’ve had to prove that I was “smart enough” and I was doubted for my talents, skills and knowledge. I needed to really exert my stance and voice in order to get things done. Even at work as a Computer Center Operator or Makerspace Operator, I received doubts and a subtle hint of discrimination and belittlement.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I remember that no matter what others might think or do to bring me down, I am talented and capable of reaching my goals. I am the only person responsible for my dreams and that if I am passionate enough, I can achieve them.

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

It will help me pursue my dream of becoming a mechanical engineering professor and share my passion for STEM outreach.