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Tinodiwanashe Nguruve, 22 – FUNDED

Tinodiwanashe Nguruve is originally from Harare, Zimbabwe, but she’s pursuing her dream of being a machine learning engineer at Bryn Mawr College. It’s her senior year, and this New Face of Tech winner is double-majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics.

“This win is a reflection of how someone sees my potential and makes me strongly believe in myself — and it makes me want to excel in everything that I do,” says Tinodiwanashe. “Half of the battles people face in STEAM courses are in the mind. If you shift your perspective, surround yourself with the right people, and start thinking you are built for this, you will realize that everything else will be easy to tackle!”

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

It means that I’m helping battle the social conviction that only certain individuals are brought into the world with STEM skills. Perseverance, hard work, and determination brought me here and being the New Face of Tech means that somebody believed in my capabilities and pushed me to get here. I hope that other women who come after me see a great representation and are encouraged to boldly pursue their dreams.

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

Colleges that offer STEAM courses should make sure that they encourage women to join these courses while reevaluating all of their intro courses and teaching instruction to ensure there is a conducive environment for growth. For example, some people had the privilege of learning how to program at a very young age and can already make games. These people should not be in the same class as those who have never taken a programming class. We must reduce intimidation and offer people who don’t know programming a space to learn. Everyone deserves a chance to grow!

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

I started coding my second year in college and I hear stories of how people started their journey in middle school when I didn’t even know how a computer works — let alone own a computer. I tend to feel like an imposter, and I have to consistently remind myself that I’m capable of doing exceptionally well.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

My confidence lies in my Christian identity and, whenever I don’t feel motivated, I remember that God has bigger plans for me and everything will be alright. I have also joined supportive communities like Women of Rewriting the Code, Girls Who Code, Built By Girls, and Codepath. These organizations go out of their way to inspire people and equip them with the necessary knowledge to do well in the tech world. Lastly, I attend a lot of hackathons to learn how to build a product from scratch and launch it in a very short time. It’s really inspiring to see what people can build in a very short space of time — and this alone can be very motivating.

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

This challenge will pay for the resources that I need to jumpstart my project. It will also help me get a powerful laptop that can run large datasets without crashing.