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Veronica S., 21 – FUNDED

“As a Latina pursuing computer science, I rarely saw trailblazing figures who shared a similar background to mine,” says Veronica S. “This is why advocating for inclusivity in tech is a core value of mine.”

This New Face of Tech is majoring in Computer Science and Linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and currently leads the university’s tech organization with a focus on building inclusive spaces to help elevate and empower women and underrepresented groups.

Her dream is to become a software engineer.

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

As a first-generation and Latina pursuing computer science, this means advocating and providing support for underrepresented individuals in tech. It means being part of an amazing network of individuals who are breaking barriers and stereotypes to pursue their passions and dreams.

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

We need to establish inclusive and collaborative environments, so that we can empower women to overcome barriers, contribute their ideas, and pursue successful careers in STEAM. Moreover, we need more mentorship networks that provide resources and opportunities to assist women breaking into STEAM.

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

Navigating undergraduate education as a first-generation university student and exploring the male-dominated field of computer science as a Latina is a daunting challenge that fuels persistent imposter syndrome.

However, these challenges have strengthened my passion for establishing inclusive environments and have motivated my determination to succeed despite these barriers. Having a strong support system of mentors and peers has allowed me to push past obstacles to accomplish my goals.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

It’s facilitated by surrounding myself with supportive friends and mentors who uplift me. Engaging with university organizations and leading events that contribute positively to the community also helps me foster an inspiring environment and empowers me to continue pursuing my STEM education.

Receiving my education also provides me with tools and resources to give back to the community that supported me in hopes that future generation young girls will never doubt that it is possible for them to become technologists. Witnessing the impact of my contributions encourages me to continue striving towards my goals and making a difference.

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

It will help in completing my bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Linguistics which is pivotal for achieving my goals of breaking into the tech industry as a software engineer. My education will prepare me for software engineering by enhancing technical skills and teaching me how to approach engineering complexities and efficiently solve problems. This foundation is crucial for leading future projects and building innovative products, aligning with my deep passion for computer science and technology.