Lakshitha Rajendran, a junior majoring in chemical engineering at University of Cincinnati, has won the first ever Women in Technology Scholarship from Buildium. She stood out among a field of more than 100 students to take the $2,500 prize for her essay that answered the question: “Who — or what — inspired you to pursue a career in technology?”
Lakshitha’s essay impressed the scholarship selection committee with its creativity, passion, and an unexpected twist, which revealed her greatest inspiration to be Charles Babbage — a man — whom many refer to as “the father of the computer.”
In her essay, Lakshitha wrote, “Here was a person who so many years ago laid a foundation for one of the most extraordinary inventions… The fact that an ordinary person created something so amazing excites me, even to this day. It inspired me and made me dream of one day creating something so revolutionary, and thus started my appreciation of science and technology.”
Additionally, Lakshitha said she draws inspiration from Ada Lovelace, often described as the world’s first programmer, and Debbie Sterling, founder of GoldieBlox, a company that makes toys for girls exploring careers in engineering.
For a little inspiration of your own, check out Lakshitha’s entire essay.
Working to put an end to gender stereotypes
Gender stereotypes never deterred Lakshitha from pursuing a career in the tech world. In fact, she was so immersed in science and technology as a girl that it never occurred to her to steer clear of a field traditionally dominated by men.
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Tara Connelly, a Buildium UX designer and member of the scholarship selection committee, said, “We received a lot of great applications, but Lakshitha’s essay really stood out. It’s inspiring to see that tomorrow’s great female leaders are working to eliminate gender barriers in the tech industry.”
Lakshitha has big plans for her windfall. She said, “This scholarship means so much to me and will help me immensely in paying the costs of tuition and books. It also means that for at least one semester, I can afford to look into doing a research internship instead of having to get a part-time job. I am truly grateful to Buildium for honoring me with this scholarship and for their valuable role in supporting women like me achieve their dreams in the fields of science and technology.”
Helping women advance their technical skills
Buildium launched the Women in Technology Scholarship in the fall of 2014 to help two women each year pursue their dreams of a technology career by defraying the costs of their undergraduate or graduate tuition. To be eligible, a student must be enrolled in a Product Design, Interaction Design, User Experience Design, Engineering, or Computer Science program at an accredited U.S. college or university.
Two Women in Technology Scholarships are awarded each year, one in the fall semester, the other in the spring. The deadline for the Spring 2015 contest is April 30, 2015, and applicants can begin sending in essays and transcripts February 15. Before applying, please read the complete instructions and eligibility requirements.