Raven S., 19 – FUNDED

There’s a quote by Sandra Parks — “Teach children what to think and you limit them to your ideas. Teach children how to think and their ideas are unlimited.” — that reflects how Raven S. feels about New Face of Tech. “Even though I’m no longer a child, I’m still learning more and more every day,” she says. “Helping fund my education will allow me to take more time to learn how to think and come up with new solutions to existing problems in the field of chemical engineering and sustainability — and not just recite some facts or mechanisms for an exam.”

She currently attends the University of Michigan where she’s studying chemical engineering with a minor in climate and space science engineering. Her dream career involves sharing, educating, and implementing new carbon sequestration technology. She wants to work with fellow engineers to create more sustainable and efficient practices in chemical processes around the globe.

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

It means representing everyone who thought they couldn’t make it — everyone who may have great aspirations, but no conceivable way of achieving them. It means showing aspiring STEM majors (especially young girls in STEM) that — no matter what difficulties life may throw at you, financial or personal — hard work and true dedication can help you work toward whatever you’re passionate about.

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

We can educate and inspire girls from a young age that tech and science are some of the most important fields to go into. We need to show them that their creativity, passion, and intellect can be activated in STEM fields — just like any other major — and that being a woman in STEM will not only give them a plethora of avenues for success, but will make them stronger and more resilient in everything they accomplish for the rest of their lives.

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

Some days I go to a lecture and feel I am heard and represented and am making a contribution to my class and my university. Other days, I am put into teams with peers and talked over or ignored by male students. Having this inequity in my engineering classes has opened my eyes to the changes we still need to implement in many STEM fields. We’re getting better and acknowledging the issue, but we’re still far from where we need to be.

In the wake of my parents’ divorce, personal familial stressors have also wreaked havoc on my ability to focus throughout the year. Another challenge I’ve faced is progressing in my studies in the wake of anxiety from trying to accomplish so much — all while figuring out how to support myself financially once I graduate.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I imagine a future in which global temperatures start to return to their normal cycle. I imagine waking up to find out that certain processes I’ve developed or improved with peers have been used worldwide to implement new technologies for struggling communities.

Imagining this kind of future for myself and my community motivates me every day to get out of bed and face any new challenges head-on — focusing not only on my schoolwork, but on current events and perspectives from my peers on how the world could be a better and more efficient place. Talking with my friends about their goals and sharing my own ambitions keeps me going during the year throughout every failed exam, every COVID-19 lockdown, and every personal setback.

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

It will help relieve some of the financial stress and anxiety I currently face while continuing my studies at the University of Michigan. The funding will allow me to focus on my classes, project teams, and organizations that are all currently working to not only make U of M a better place, but also the world as a whole.