Earlier this year, a report by the American Association of University Women showed that just 12 percent of engineers are women, and the number of women in technology positions has fallen from 35 percent in 1990 to 26 percent today. The fact that the gender gap is widening in some science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is alarming, and many advocates claim that corporate America isn’t doing enough to improve these proportions.
At Buildium, diversity is something that we continue to prioritize and improve upon, therefore two of our annual scholarships honor young female students of Product Design, Interaction Design, UX Design, or Computer Science. Applicants are asked to write an essay in 1,000 words or less in response to the prompt:
“Name a woman in product design, software engineering, or development that you admire most and explain why.”
Our Fall submissions closed at the end of October, and we received a record number of very impressive submissions. The team of judges chose to award Tabitha Arnoldy, a student at the Indiana Institute of Technology, with this semester’s $2,500 prize. On behalf of our Buildium family, congratulations Tabitha!
In her essay, Tabitha candidly explained the pressure of studying and working in STEM without a significant support system from inspiring female leaders.Tabitha approached the question unconventionally, revealing that she has had to find motivation from her own actions and decisions to pursue a degree in Industrial Engineering—a career path that was not encouraged by her upbringing, or easily accessible to her in rural Indiana.
As a follow-up to her submission, we interviewed Tabitha to learn more:
What is the most exciting aspect of studying and working in technology?
“The most exciting aspect of working and studying in technology is definitely the innovation. I constantly find that I am able to branch away from normality and am encouraged to express creativity. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your own personal, creative design come to life.”
How will this scholarship help contribute to your future?
“Winning the Women in Technology Scholarship will definitely help ease the stress and burden of my student loans. I find it very unfortunate that trying to better myself and my future comes with such an expensive price tag. However, knowing that a portion of my tuition for next semester will be covered definitely provides great relief.”
How would you describe yourself using three words?
“Industrious, curious, and kind. I am extremely dedicated and work very hard, I have a constant hunger to learn more, and I pride myself on my good character and generous heart.”
If you could have dinner with one technologist, living or dead, who would it be?
“I would be thrilled to have dinner with the father of alternating current electricity, Nikola Tesla. His intelligence, bravery, and tenacity are qualities that I have and will always admire. Despite being ridiculed, unsupported, and underestimated, he never allowed the opinions of others to stop him from pursuing and embracing his passions. Not only would I love to hear stories of his triumphs, trials, and personal experiences, but I would also love to show him how his inventions and discoveries have led to a world overflowing with extraordinary mechanics and technology.”
What advice do you have for other young women hoping to break into the field of technology?
“This has been a hard question for me to answer because we all pursue this field in different strides, at different angles. But the best advice that I could give is to always stand your ground. Allow others to underestimate you, but never underestimate yourself. Anytime that anyone tells you that you can’t or you won’t, know that their statement is only an opinion, not a fact. You are the only person that determines your success.”
About the Women in Technology Scholarship
Each fall and spring, Buildium awards the Women in Technology Scholarship to the Product Design, Interaction Design, UX Design, Engineering, or Computer Science student who writes the most compelling essay about a topic related to women in technology. The essay topic is inspired by our core values: integrity, simplicity, balance, service, and ownership.
The deadline for Spring 2016 Women in Technology Scholarship applications is April 15, 2016, and the committee begins accepting essays and transcripts February 15. Please read the complete instructions and eligibility requirements before applying.Read more on Buildium News