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Patricia Luc, 18 – FUNDED

“Success is not what you have but who you are.” This is a quote attributed to Bo Bennett, and it is a constant inspiration for Patricia Luc. This New Face of Tech winner and first-year student in the engineering program at Columbia University intends to study computer science on the intelligent systems track and pursue a minor in neuroscience.

Her dream is become an artificial intelligence engineer who creates systems that are capable of learning and growing in the same capacity as humans for the purpose of social good for the people around us.

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

It speaks volumes to every young girl and woman out there; it says there are people who look like you who are pursuing these fields dominated by an undiversified majority — and they are succeeding beyond what anyone expected.

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

Encouraging women to unapologetically pursue fields where there are not enough people who look like them is something I’ve been passionate about since my sophomore year of high school. Now I’m the chapter lead of Superposition Columbia, a university-level chapter under Superposition, a global nonprofit with a mission to empower women in STEM by creating educational opportunities and supportive spaces for developing their passions.

We need to keep continuously revolutionizing the means by which we approach the gender gap problem by creating innovative ways to inspire, empower, and connect young girls and women. Groups such as Girls Who Code, Society of Women Engineers, Women in Computer Science, have been booming catalysts for driving women to pursue their passions in these fields, but we need to continue redesigning the paradigm to drive away formulaic structures.

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

Proving to others that my capabilities are defined by me and me alone… As a Black female in computer science, my voice will be doubted and my abilities looked down upon in comparison to my white male peers. Even then, I continue to prove and prove again that I know where my limits exists and only I know how far they can be stretched and pushed.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

First off, my family has been the backbone to my studies and my work and they fuel me in continuing to do even more. Second, I think about all the innovative and impossible things that I want to do and remind myself that, with every choice I make and every action I take, I’m pushing myself closer and closer to doing these unimaginable things and ultimately leaving a mark on the world and the people in it in ways I’ve always aspired to.

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

The funding from this scholarship grant will allow me to start my own undergraduate research on campus and hopefully publish my work in a journal. I want to contribute to the strides made in the academic community as well as attend a national conference to voice my unique approaches, ideas, and findings for the future of socially driven AI.