Buildium’s latest scholarship cycle celebrates talented STEM students

Lauren Mason
Lauren Mason | 6 min. read

Published on February 12, 2018

The most exciting part about being a student in STEM is imagining what our future will look like. After all, the future is left to you and me—what are we going to do to influence it?
—Shivani Shukla, Buildium’s Women in Technology scholarship winner, Fall 2017

The above quote is one of many thought-provoking messages we received during our latest round of scholarship applications. Over the past 4 years, Buildium has heard from hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students; and during each scholarship cycle, we are absolutely honored to have been a small part of their educational experience.

Historically, to apply for our two scholarships, Build U. and Women in Technology, students were asked to craft an essay in response to a prompt. However, our internal reading committee decided that there was a piece missing from the application process: the personalities and stories of our applicants! Therefore, as a new addition to the scholarship requirements, we asked our latest round of applicants to also submit a short video in response to the question, “What would this scholarship mean for your education?”

We were thrilled with the submissions we received! We heard from students far and wide who are incredibly driven and passionate about their particular areas of study within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

After we closed the application window on November 1, an internal reading committee reviewed each essay and video, then agrees on a winner based on how clearly, thoughtfully, and eloquently the entrant answered the question. The winning applicants each receive $2500 to put toward their education. Applicants are limited to STEM students currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs in the U.S. and Canada.

On behalf of the reading committee and the whole team here at Buildium, we want to thank all of our wonderful applicants for sharing their stories, passions, and personalities with us. We are proud to announce our two winners for the Fall 2017 scholarship cycle below!

To celebrate, we put together this video to show our appreciation and to highlight some of our talented applicants!

Buildium Scholarship Winner: Women in Technology

Shivani Shukla
Carnegie Mellon University – Class of 2020
Materials Science & Biomedical Engineering Major

Women in Technology scholarship applicants were asked, “Which female leader in STEM most inspires you to pursue your dreams, and why?”

Shivani wrote a thoughtful essay about Dr. Tsuneko Okazaki, Professor Emeritus at Nagoya University in Japan. Dr. Okazaki is renowned for her discovery of Ozaki fragments: short, newly synthesized DNA fragments formed during replication. This discovery allowed scientists to understand the molecular basis of genetics and led to the development of biotechnology and genetic engineering.

Born into a family of scientists in Japan in the 1930s, Dr. Okazaki lived through the bombings of Nagoya during World War II. As Shivani so elegantly depicts, “Against the backdrop of death, [Okazaki] focused on the cellular origins of life, coming to share her father’s love of biology.” Today, at age 84, Dr. Okazaki is the CEO of a company that develops artificial chromosomes for genetic engineering.

During a research internship at Nagoya University, Shivani had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Dr. Okazaki. She inspired Shivani to join a biotechnology lab at her university, where she is designing self-rolling microelectrodes for the human brain.

Shivani explains the depth of the impact Dr. Okazaki had on her: “While inspiring in many ways, Professor Okazaki motivates me because she practiced emotional grit both during her scientific career and in her personal one. Even when many scientists dismissed the evidence of Okazaki fragments, she and Reiji (her lab partner and husband) continued to vouch for the evidence they knew to be sound. When Reiji passed away, she continued to push the boundaries of biology. Hearing Professor Okazaki’s words made me reflect on how I was handling my own journey to become an engineer.”

When we asked what excites her about her field, she replied: “The most exciting part about being a student in STEM is imagining what our future will look like. After all, the future is left to you and me—what are we going to do to influence it? As a materials science and biomedical engineering student, I believe our current technologies and bodies are limited by our materials. I want to lead my communities to overcome today’s technological limitations and improve the lives of those around me.”

Buildium Scholarship Winner: Build U.

Jessica Ray
Xavier University of Louisiana – Class of 2018
Biology Major, Chemistry & Psychology Minor

Build U. scholarship applicants answered the question, “Which company do you admire that exemplifies one or more of Buildium’s six core values?” Our values are:

  1. Focus on customers first
  2. Be helpful and supportive
  3. Communicate openly and honestly
  4. Be nimble and flexible
  5. Take initiative and work hard
  6. Be passionate and have fun

Jessica chose to write about Walmart and how she believes that it focuses on customers first. She identified three areas of Walmart’s business that demonstrate its dedication to customers: Walmart Savings Catcher, its money services, and its commitment to affordable, accessible healthcare. Jessica explains that Walmart is “more than just a department store and grocery store” because much of their business is devoted to “programs that cater directly to consumer needs.” With over 5000 retail locations in the U.S. and over 10,000 locations worldwide, they offer a one-stop-shop experience to urban and rural communities alike.

She continues by saying, “These extra amenities mentioned specifically make healthcare and money services available and affordable to a large population of people. This could arguably be the greatest display of care for customers and a central focus on their needs. Usually medications, medical exams, supplementary medical aids, and even vitamins are cheaper at Walmart than at any other competing store. One could get prescription glasses, crutches, a blood pressure machine, and much more from the endless list of wellness and healthcare products that are made accessible and provided for by Walmart.”

We asked Jessica how she plans to use the scholarship prize: “I plan on using the award to contribute to the cost of living in the dorms on Xavier University’s campus, for the last semester of my undergraduate degree. I had an apartment last semester and something happened with my roommate where I had to abruptly move out. So you guys actually have no idea how much this scholarship means to me! It costs around $5000 to live in Xavier’s dorms, so I am incredibly thankful for the assistance. This scholarship means that I am able to complete the last 12 credit hours of my degree, because I am able to continue living in New Orleans for one more semester.”

Congratulations and best of luck to Shivani and Jessica, from all of us here at Buildium!

You can apply for Buildium’s next round of scholarships between March 15 and April 15, 2018. Be sure to watch the Build U. and Women in Technology pages for more information as the application period approaches.

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Lauren Mason

Lauren Mason is Buildium's Field Marketing Manager. In her role over the last 5 years, she has made it her mission to meet thousands of property managers and to help spread their knowledge to Buildium customers and the property management industry through events, conferences, and partnerships.

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