Harshita Guduru, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas, is the winner of Buildium’s Women in Technology Scholarship for spring 2015. Harshita’s frank and inspirational story stood out among a crowded field of nearly 100 essays, netting her the $2,500 scholarship prize.
In the fall and spring semesters of each year, Buildium’s Women in Technology Scholarship gives students the opportunity to compete for the $2,500 award by writing a 1,000-word essay about who or what inspired them to pursue a career in technology or product design. Students must be enrolled in a Product Design, Interaction Design, User Experience Design, Engineering, or Computer Science degree program.
“In my essay, I give a small insight into my family and their support for me,” Harshita said. “I also want to thank my family and my friends. I’m really lucky to have such supportive people in my life.”
Both of Harshita’s parents work in the computer industry. They emphasized the value of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education to their daughter at an early age, and Harshita was a quick study. Her parents’ teaching, guidance, and encouragement, along with what Harshita says is an excellent school system in her hometown of Plano, have been pivotal in her development.
It wasn’t until Harshita entered college that she first discovered that some professors and peers were less supportive of her passion for and proficiency in math and science. In her essay, Harshita says she once was asked, ““Why would you want to be a woman engineer? No one will ever respect you.”
For support, a frustrated Harshita turned to her biggest booster of all: her sister, Manasa, who is five years older and an engineer. Whenever Harshita needed her, Manasa, also a UT Dallas graduate, was just a phone call away.
“And she, unlike anyone else, understood exactly what was going on,” Harshita said of her sister.
When asked what she plans to do with the prize money, Harshita said she’ll put it toward next semester’s tuition at UT Dallas, a campus known for developing students’ research skills. After graduating, Harshita says, “I want to work for a couple of years as a mechanical engineer and then pursue an MBA.”
Congratulations to Harshita Guduru! You’re a perfect example of why gender doesn’t matter when it comes to choosing a career and chasing your dream.