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Stella M., 22 – FUNDED

“This win is not just an accolade; it’s a launchpad for my aspirations,” says Stella M., a New Face of Tech winner from the eastern part of Nigeria who is studying Information Science at University of Arkansas, Little Rock.

“[New Face of Tech] is the key to unlocking doors to opportunities that will sculpt my tech career’s trajectory, empowering me to innovate, collaborate, and make a meaningful impact in the ever-evolving landscape of technology,” she added.

Her dream is to be a business data analyst who uses data to solve problems.

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

It signifies embodying innovation, inclusivity, and progress in the technology realm. It’s about breaking barriers, promoting diversity, and contributing fresh perspectives to the field.

To me, it means being a catalyst for positive change, leveraging technology to solve complex problems, and advocating for equitable opportunities for everyone.

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

To address the underrepresentation of women in STEAM, we need multifaceted efforts.

First, early education and outreach programs should spark girls’ interest in STEAM fields, dispelling stereotypes and showcasing diverse role models. Encouraging mentorship, internships, and scholarships specifically for women in STEAM can provide crucial support.

Creating inclusive environments in workplaces and educational institutions, promoting gender diversity in leadership roles, and implementing unbiased recruitment practices are vital.

Additionally, fostering a supportive network and advocating for policies that ensure equal opportunities, regardless of gender, will contribute to a more balanced and inclusive STEAM landscape.

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 do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

Maintaining motivation and focus on my goals involves a few key strategies. First, I cultivate a clear vision of what I aim to achieve, breaking it down into smaller, actionable steps. Setting specific, measurable goals helps maintain direction and momentum.

Additionally, I surround myself with a supportive network of mentors, peers, and role models who inspire and encourage me. Regularly revisiting my aspirations and celebrating small victories keeps me motivated.

Moreover, staying adaptable and embracing challenges as learning opportunities helps me persevere through setbacks. Ultimately, passion for my field and a belief in the impact of my work drive my motivation to stay focused on my goals.

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

It’s 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, laying a solid foundation for my career in the tech industry.