Priyanka Benny Fernandes, 25 – FUNDED

“Every achievement is a boost of motivation,” says Priyanka Benny Fernandes. “This scholarship will help me think out loud and move forward with an unending effort and determination to achieve the goals I have set for myself.”

Originally from Mumbai, India, this New Face of Tech winner is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Continually overcoming her own health challenges, she has charted an inspiring course on her way to her professional dream of becoming a research and development scientist in the field of cardiac and pulmonary medical imaging.

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

I am deeply grateful to have received this scholarship from the 1,000 Dreams Fund and HARMAN. Moments like these have a strong impact on my life. This motivates me even more to give my best in all that I do in my research and make a positive impact in the cardiopulmonary domain of the medical technology field to better impact patients’ lives.

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

Women who take up STEM fields are setting an example as role models to the younger generation. Every person has a big fire to make a positive impact in the world by breaking barriers in life and achieving their dreams and goals. Being independent and striving for excellence is the ultimate goal of every individual.

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

I am a Bronchiectasis patient with persistent migraines on exertion even with mild activity. An inhaler is my lifesaver. But through it all, I did not restrict myself to opportunities or complain about my shortcomings. Instead, I battled with it, and I hope to be a role model to the community of people with chronic lung conditions that anything is possible if we set our mind to it.

And while a master’s degree seemed unreachable due to financial constraints at home, my strong determination to get the best education and pursue my passion for research helped me take this giant leap.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

Looking at the vast amount of research to address humanity’s most pressing healthcare problems and the development of advanced medical technologies is very astonishing — and to realize that being part of a research that could be a breakthrough in the near future keeps me encouraged in the process.

My biggest and strongest motivators are my family members who have always been supportive in helping me pursue my passion and dreams.

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

It has helped me pay a percentage of my huge education loan which makes a big difference. This helps me stay focused on my research and goals at my university.