Saron G., 22 – FUNDED

“Winning this scholarship is not just a recognition of my hard work and dedication to STEM, but is also a stepping-stone toward achieving my dreams and making a positive impact in the world through diversifying technology and innovation,” says Saron G., a New Face of Tech winner. She is currently studying computer science at George Mason University, College of Engineering and Computing in pursuit of her professional goals.

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

It means that I am part of a growing and diverse population that is fighting to increase the retention rate of underrepresented groups, such as Black women, in the computer science and engineering fields. It means that I am part of a movement that is breaking down barriers and creating new opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in tech.

It’s a responsibility that I take seriously — I have the opportunity to inspire and encourage other women to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals in their field of interest.

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

I believe we have to take actionable solutions, such as encouraging exposure to STEAM at a young age; increasing visibility of women who are STEAM professionals; and creating opportunities/resources in STEAM through scholarships, grants, mentorship, and hands-on experience.

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

Imposter syndrome… being one of the few women in my computer science courses has been very intimidating. As someone who had late exposure to the field, I had so much to catch up to — even in my introductory classes — and it was challenging to thrive in such an environment, especially when you feel like you are dragging the class behind or will never be able to play the catch-up game.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

Computer science is a challenging field — especially as a minority student with limited access to resources and time, due to having to balance part-time work. However, what helps me stay motivated is knowing that I’ll be opening doors for generations to come by not being scared of pursuing my dream career in STEM as a woman.

Also, joining communities of like-minded individuals has allowed me to find space to connect, learn, and grow professionally — and as a person, especially as a first gen, low-income student. These communities have allowed me to navigate the higher education system in the U.S. with like-minded individuals who share similar struggles and upbringing as me. Additionally, I always try to stay curious and seek out mentors who can provide guidance and support along the way.

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

It brings me a step closer to completing my academic journey of undergrad and continuing onto my career goals. This scholarship will greatly contribute toward my university tuition fees — and this support will help alleviate financial stress and allow me to focus more on my studies while exploring my interests in technology, social impact, and using tech for social good. I am forever grateful to 1DF and Harman for recognizing my accomplishment and needs and investing in my future through monetary support as well as mentorship.