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 first of four upcoming features, we are excited to spotlight Veronica Venegas, a sophomore at Minneapolis College majoring in Computer Science who plans to transfer to Augsburg University in the fall. As a Class of 2018 Genesys Works young professional, Veronica interned at Medtronic. And, you may recognize her name: she was our keynote speaker at the 2018 CIO Luncheon, and her speech earned her a standing ovation. Says her TDP mentor Adwoa Afreh, “When I think about Veronica, I think perseverance. She is hardworking and gives maximum effort in all that she does. She persists with great tenacity and valor.”
She’s pretty awesome, so let’s hear it from her:
Genesys Works: What is the most exciting aspect of the Think IT scholarship?
Veronica Venegas: For me, the most exciting part about the Think IT scholarship is being able to continue my education. It’s an honor that I was selected as a recipient, and I’m excited to work along with everyone involved with the scholarship. I also see this scholarship as a motivation to keep me working hard in school and in everything that I do.
GW: What excites you about Information Technology?
VV: Since I was little, I have been intrigued by computers and any kind of technology. I always wanted to play around with it and figure out how it worked but many times wasn’t able to. When I gained my first internship and went through summer training, it was the first time I experienced learning about IT, and I loved it. I love the idea of how much you can do with technology and what you can create with it. Over the last couple years, I’ve been able to learn so much about technology, and I still get just as excited as the first day in summer training.
GW: Do you have a mentor or a particular person who has helped you along the way to receiving this scholarship?
VV: I’m one lucky person because I don’t just have one person who has helped me through receiving this scholarship. I have my parents who everyday would ask if I had received a decision and have always been rooting for me. But I also have Genesys Works and more specifically Adwoa Afreh and Marit Aaseng who, from the beginning of my college career, have encouraged me and told me about this opportunity. I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone around me.
GW: How do you think your Genesys Works experience prepared you for or contributed to this scholarship opportunity?
VV: Genesys Works prepared me for a lot of things. But in general, I think it gave me confidence and it pushed me. From summer training to internships and now through Talent Development Pipeline, it keeps providing me with skills such as networking, public speaking, leadership, communication, and so many more. It has provided me with all the tools I need to succeed in my education and work life.
GW: What are you passionate about?
VV: Recently, I have been very passionate about wanting to create resources for students, specifically undocumented and Latino students. I want to create a space for them to come and where they see others with similar stories, and they can find information on college entrance and so many other things. There were many people in my life who believed in me and gave me opportunities, so now I want to do the same for others and be that person in their life. I plan to combine my love for technology and my passion for helping others to create something special.
GW: What advice would you give to students as they finish up their GW internships and look towards college and post-secondary plans?
VV: As students finish up their internships, I would say enjoy these last couple of months as interns and high school students. You only get to go through it once, so make the best of it and enjoy it as much as you can. Same thing goes for your first year of college: enjoy it, but also work hard and always set yourself up for success. Your first year is the best time to make those strong connections around campus and set up those strong studying habits.
Be on the lookout next week for the second of four pieces in the Think IT Scholarship Spotlight Series.