Sarah Brill, 26 – FUNDED

“I am incredibly grateful for this grant — and I cannot wait to continue growing my skills within my field of research,” says New Face of Tech winner Sarah Brill.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University at Buffalo, and a Master of Science degree in Human Factors and Ergonomics from the University of Nottingham, Sarah is now pursuing her Ph.D. through a collaborative program between Coventry University in the United Kingdom and Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. She is researching the interactions between automated vehicles and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

Her dream is to be a professor of human factors, focusing on transport design and developing safe and useable technology that accounts for all people. “I hope this win will allow me to ensure that my work is contributing to the state-of-the-art research into future transport,” she added.

Further, Sarah realizes that the field of human factors — although incredibly important — is not very well-known to many students within engineering. Her aim as a professor will be to provide students with the support they need to develop a passion for the field and to meet their goals within higher education or industry.

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

It motivates me to seek opportunities to encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM and in higher education. I hope that being one of the New Faces of Tech will allow them to see all the possibilities available in STEM, and the diversity and successes of the women within it.

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

Women should have guidance and support throughout their path in STEAM, starting from a young age. Young girls should be provided with more exposure to all the opportunities that exist within STEAM, and if they express an interest, they should have the resources to further their passions. Additionally, linking young women with female mentors within the field would be beneficial to help them navigate the often-difficult path of women in STEAM.

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

I have struggled with self-doubt and imposter syndrome, often thinking that I did not deserve to be where I was. I overcame this by connecting with other women who were feeling similarly. These friendships helped to increase my confidence and allowed me to realize that I was where I was because I had worked hard and deserved to be there.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by friends, family, and colleagues who always encourage me to keep pushing toward my goals. However, my biggest motivator is my passion for the field of human factors engineering and my desire to improve technology to make it safer, more usable, and more enjoyable for all people.

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

The funding will allow me to enroll in a course to develop my skills in working with virtual reality technologies, which will be a great benefit to my research into the interactions between automated vehicles and vulnerable road users. Further, the funding will allow me to attend conferences to connect with other professionals in my field, and hopefully share my work within the research community.