Stella M., 22 – FUNDED

“Being a part of the Paliwal Club of 100 is a commitment to shaping a more inclusive, ethical, and impactful tech landscape,” says Stella M., a Paliwal Club of 100 STEAM Scholar. Equipped with an Information Science degree from the University of Arkansas, she wants to embrace “the future of technology with an open mind [while] engaging in continuous learning and collaboration and inspiring others to join this dynamic and constantly evolving industry.”

What is your professional dream?

I want to be a business analyst.

What does being in the Paliwal Club of 100 mean to you? 

It signifies embodying the spirit of innovation, inclusivity, and progress in the realm of technology. It’s about overcoming obstacles, fostering diversity, and introducing fresh perspectives to the field. It means serving as a catalyst for positive change, using technology to address complex problems, and advocating for equal opportunities for all.

Women are underrepresented in the S.T.E.A.M. (science, tech, arts or math) fields and music industry. How can we change this? 

A comprehensive approach is required. First, programs focusing on early education and outreach should ignite the curiosity of girls in STEAM disciplines, debunking misconceptions and presenting a variety of role models. The provision of mentorship, internships, and scholarships specifically aimed at women in STEAM can offer essential backing.

The establishment of inclusive atmospheres in workplaces and educational institutions, the advancement of gender diversity in leadership positions, and the execution of impartial hiring practices are crucial. Moreover, cultivating a supportive network and endorsing policies that guarantee equal opportunities irrespective of gender will lead to a more equitable and inclusive STEAM field.

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

Navigating cultural norms that prioritize male children and undervalue women’s roles in STEAM has been a significant challenge. In my African environment, societal expectations often prioritize traditional gender roles, limiting opportunities for women in STEAM.

Overcoming biases that label these fields as male-dominated has been an uphill battle, facing skepticism and being looked down upon merely because of my gender. Breaking through these barriers has required resilience, determination, and constantly proving that gender doesn’t dictate competence or passion for STEAM fields.

It’s about challenging societal perceptions and advocating for equal opportunities, striving to create a more inclusive environment for women in these disciplines.

How will this grant from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?

The funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund and HARMAN is pivotal as I navigate my final semester as a graduate student. It will significantly support my research and thesis by covering essential expenses such as research materials, access to specialized databases, and software crucial for my project.

Additionally, it will alleviate financial stress, allowing me to focus more on my academic pursuits. This support ensures that I can dedicate myself fully to producing high-quality research, enabling me to excel in my studies and successfully complete my thesis and laying a solid foundation for my career in the tech industry.