Pelagia Majoni, 20 – FUNDED

New Face of Tech winner Pelagia Majoni wants to be a software engineer, and she’s taking steps towards that goal as a Computer Science major at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. But, it’s about more than just the job for her. Originally from Zimbabwe, she want to use her skills as an engineer to help the solve the problems of poverty, disease, and hunger in her community.

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

Being the New Face of Tech is a unique opportunity for me to be the change — especially in my community — that I want to see. This award means that someone out there supports my dreams and that makes me so thankful.

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

We need to encourage women all over the world and help them see STEAM as something that is second nature to them. We need to show them and give them access to women who have done it, so they know that they can do it, too.

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

I only started pursuing computer science in college. In my first year. I felt like an impostor. My peers knew so much and I felt like I was behind and could never catch up. I still do sometimes feel as if I am out of place.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I find support from other Women In Tech groups. I am part of Women Of Rewriting the Code, Black Girls Code, and Anita Borg. These virtual communities help me understand that I am not alone in my struggles and make me feel like I am part of a community. My ambitions to serve my community keeps me motivated because I know one day I will make a phenomenal impact on girls in Zimbabwe.

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

1,000 Dreams Fund and HARMAN have already helped me because last winter break, I went back home to Zimbabwe and taught an Introduction to Programming course. This course had more than 40% girls in it. I made sure to keep in touch with them and to encourage them to pursue STEAM.