Prital J., 18 – FUNDED

Prital J.’s dream is to create more advanced, sustainable infrastructures and bring a positive change in the field of civil engineering. To that end, this New Face of Tech is pursuing a major in civil engineering and a minor in urban planning and design at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

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

I am truly honored and thankful. It means a lot to me because now I have the opportunity to inspire the younger generation and be an advocate for women in STEAM — in addition to receiving support to pursue my own career in civil engineering.

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

We are doing much better than before, so the future of women in STEAM seems very bright. Unfortunately, there will always be challenges that we will face. I think it’s very important that women support their peers and offer to mentor younger girls who want to get involved. The more women stick together, the stronger the women in the STEAM community become.

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

I am one of only a few girls in many of my core STEM classes. Since we are virtual, the ratio of men to women may not be as striking as if we were on campus. But the difference is still there and sometimes it can feel as if you are less supported. Not having face-to-face discussions also contributes to this feeling.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

Since my college has moved to a remote format, it’s slightly difficult to stay motivated and focused. I tend to get tired of staring at my screen all day, so I started to treat myself after finishing my homework. This has motivated me to focus and get my work done so that I can do things I enjoy, as well. While it has not always been easy to find time with the amount of work, sometimes talking with a friend or reading a good article also encourages me to stay focused.

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

This will allow me to take more courses that will help me achieve my professional dream. I also don’t have to worry as much about educational fees for extra courses and can instead focus that time on planning my future or helping others.