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 second of four features, we are excited to spotlight Sue Xiong, a sophomore at Augsburg College majoring in Computer Science. As a Class of 2018 Genesys Works young professional, Sue interned at Capella University and attended high school at Central Senior High School in St. Paul.
Now, let’s hear what Sue has to say:
Genesys Works: What is the most exciting aspect of the Think IT scholarship?
Sue Xiong: The most exciting aspect is that the Think IT scholarship is allowing me to further my goals towards a career in the field of information technology. This scholarship has also given me a boost and opportunity to receive my bachelor’s degree. This is something my older brothers and sisters did not have the chance to complete.
GW: What excites you about Information Technology?
Sue: It’s the growth of it. Information Technology is always growing and improving. As someone who also seeks the same, it excites me to be able to grow alongside it. Information technology is like a reflection of myself. It has taught me to enjoy not only the end product but also the process that it took to get there. When I compare the first smartphone to the latest smartphones I can’t help but smile and be amazed at how far technology has come. It reminds me of my own journey and the process that it took for me to be here today.
GW: Do you have a mentor or a particular person who has helped you along the way to receiving this scholarship?
Sue: Yes, of course. It would be wrong for me to solely take credit for receiving this scholarship. Although I don’t have a particular person, everyone whom I have chosen to surround myself with has helped me along the way, whether I met them for only a brief moment or they are someone that I have known for years. Many have taught me valuable lessons and provided guidance that helped shape how I carry myself today. It was through meeting each and every one of them that I was able to receive this scholarship.
GW: How do you think your Genesys Works experience prepared you for or contributed to this scholarship opportunity?
Sue: During my time as a Genesys Works intern I learned how to apply myself in different situations. That means not being afraid to take that first step, even if it’s a huge leap like applying to the Think IT scholarship. I knew it was a lot of money and that it was going to be competitive. However, I knew that if I were afraid to just apply, I would definitely regret it later. Once I put my foot in the door and finished my application, I had this huge sense of relief. There were only two outcomes now. Either I was going to get rejected and learn that I still have room for improvement. Or, I was going to get accepted and learn that I could go even higher than where I currently stand.
GW: Can you recall a breakthrough moment during Genesys Works that was a huge learning experience for you?
Sue: My breakthrough moment was when I learned that I was fully capable of doing the internship that was entrusted to me. During training over the summer everything felt fine because we had it in a classroom format. I was used to the classroom format, but when I got into my internship, I was intimidated. This internship was going to be something completely new to me. When I took that first step inside the company I was just speechless. Suddenly, I had forgotten all of my training and had to confirm every task I did with my tutor. Eventually my tutor left, as his internship was over, and I had to do everything by myself. Slowly but surely, I became more confident as I successfully performed the tasks that were given to me. From there, I came to a realization that I had the capability to do this internship. My anxiety was nothing more than me putting myself down. It was through the Genesys Works internship that I learned to be more confident in myself whenever I had to step into a foreign environment.
GW: Have you had any breakthrough moments in college, career exploration, or professional internships since leaving Genesys Works?
Sue: Ever since leaving Genesys Works I felt that I have grown as a person. Taking my experience from Genesys Works to college gave me some of the best breakthroughs I have had in years. I used to be someone who didn’t like to take initiative because I hated being either wrong or failing. Now I always try to take that first step whenever I can. Half the time I don’t even know what the outcome will be, but I knew I wasn’t afraid of it. If I failed or if I was wrong, it was a chance for me to grow. With that mindset, college was a lot less stressful than high school. I was able to meet many new friends in the same major as me and many that weren’t. For the first time, I felt like I was finally able to put myself out there and see growth as a young adult.
Be on the lookout next week for the third of four pieces in the Think IT Scholarship Spotlight Series.