York Solutions, in partnership with Genesys Works Twin Cities, the Think IT Association, and Wallin Education Partners, is excited to announce the 2020 Think IT Scholarship winners: Veronica Venegas, Sue Xiong, Faiza Mah, and Pa Gar Vang.
As part of the scholarship, these four driven Genesys Works Twin Cities alumni and current college students will each receive $8,000 to be distributed over two years. But, the Think IT scholarship offers a lot more than financial support. The program is designed to holistically support students: in the classroom, financially, and through career exploration and mentorship. As Think IT scholars, these four will receive personalized professional support and guidance, receive access to college-to-career programs, and get the opportunity to connect with technology and business professionals.
Each of these students has a story worth telling. So, we decided to sit down with each of these esteemed winners to hear – in their own words – how they got to where they are today and where they hope to go next.
In the third of four features, we are excited to spotlight Faiza Mah, a first-year student who just finished up her year at Minneapolis College and will be transferring to the University of Minnesota this fall to major in Computer Science. As a Class of 2019 Genesys Works young professional, Faiza interned at Medtronic and attended high school at Columbia Heights High School. She was also the feature of last year’s Annual Report for her outstanding internship achievements. You can read that extended story here.
We caught up with Faiza now to hear more about where she’s at as a college student:
Genesys Works: What is the most exciting aspect of the Think IT scholarship?
Faiza Mah: The most important aspect of the Think IT Scholarship for me is the amount of mentorship and support that I will be getting throughout my time in college. It is truly an honor to have people other than my family and friends supporting me and wanting me to succeed. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I hope to make the most out of it and make it as memorable as I can.
GW: What excites you about Information Technology?
FM: Since I was a child, I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in IT, but as a child, I wasn’t always supported in chasing my dreams since many people thought that I was not good enough to get a degree in IT simply because I was a girl. But those negative voices only motivated me more to pursue a career in IT. I see IT as a chance for me to inspire young girls to chase their dreams and realize getting a degree in IT is possible.
GW: Do you have a mentor or a particular person who has helped you along the way to receiving this scholarship?
FM: Marit Aaseng from the Talent Development Pipeline team helped me prepare for the scholarship interview. I was a bit nervous since the focus of this interview was different than all of my previous interviews. During the phone call, Marit pointed out all of my strengths which boosted my confidence. All her tips prepared me to present the best of myself in the interview.
GW: How do you think your Genesys Works experience prepared you for or contributed to this scholarship opportunity?
FM: Genesys Works has provided me with all sorts of opportunities – from summer training to an internship to now, with the Talent Development Pipeline. Genesys Works has helped me not only to build my personal brand but also to strengthen my communication and networking skills. Without Genesys Works’ support and encouragement, my success would not have been possible.
GW: Can you recall a breakthrough moment during GW that was a huge learning experience for you?
FM: A breakthrough moment for me in Genesys Works was when my program coordinator told me that public speaking was one of my strengths. When she said that, I just looked at her with confusion. I always thought that I never had the potential to stand in front of people, but Genesys Works has changed that. Ever since summer training, I have been volunteering at many public speaking events and speaking in front of large crowds, all due to Genesys Works and their continuous support.
GW: What do you hope to be doing in five years?
FM: In five years, I hope that my dream to work at Google becomes a reality. I believe joining a company like Google will help me to make an impact in the world. I’m also hoping to open my own business to make a difference in people’s lives, especially people in developing countries. I know I have a long way to go to make that possible, but I know it will become a reality one day.
Be on the lookout next week for the final of four pieces in the Think IT Scholarship Spotlight Series.