If you have attended one of our events, you know that we always include time to hear from a Young Professional or alum. We believe in the importance of giving the mic to our Young Professionals and alumni and amplifying their voices and experiences. With guidance from a staff member and plenty of lead time, event speeches are prepared and crafted by the speaker and told from their own perspectives.
Please take a moment to read Fartun magnificent speech, recently delivered to a room of technology executives and vendors celebrating our Hatfield and McCoys fundraiser. Fartun is graduating from University of Minnesota next spring and will be looking to launch her career in software engineering!
Thank you so much for joining us today at the Hatfield & McCoys Celebration! Thank you to the H&M technology executives who volunteered their time and the vendor technology partners and suppliers who kindly gave to help further the mission of Genesys Works!
This is an amazing partnership that helps students prepare for their future careers!
My name is Fartun, a computer science student at the University of Minnesota and a GW professional and Talent Development Pipeline Member. Today, I want to take you on a journey – the incredible tale of a college student in pursuit of a future so bright that it could outshine the adventures of Dora the Explorer!
Back when I was young (and I’m not claiming to be old – although I did receive my first retirement letter in the mail yesterday as a birthday gift), I had a dream of becoming a doctor. And when I said it, I truly meant it.
I was always fascinated by the world of medicine, always asking doctors and nurses about their professions. In the 10th grade, I volunteered at a hospital, hoping to witness these heroes in action, but somehow ended up cashiering at a gift store.
While I didn’t get to see much medical drama, my curiosity remained undiminished.
In the 11th grade, I juggled a part-time job at Target alongside my school activities and PSEO studies, making my life hectic. Then, the unexpected happened – the pandemic struck, and my bustling life came to a screeching halt. I witnessed the toilet paper rush at Target, customers interrogating me because they thought I was hiding them for myself, and then suddenly no customers after the lockdown. I would come in for a 4-hour shift and would just roam the empty aisles. It was strange, but it gave me much time to reflect on myself and my future. As I observed the struggles of businesses that had failed to adapt to the new reality, it became clear that survival meant embracing this new virtual world.
During those lockdown days, I found myself drawn to the world of software and technology. I was intrigued by the apps and programs that emerged to tackle the challenges we faced during the pandemic. This led me to explore programming and development, a path I never thought I’d walk on.
You see, I was also a henna artist. Every year, just before Eid (a Muslim Holiday celebrated twice a year), I would transform my garage into a henna salon and design henna for around 25 customers per day. It was my version of a lemonade stand, and it taught me valuable lessons in understanding my audience, marketing, customer service, accounting, and even business competition. Naturally, I found myself gravitating towards understanding how businesses and products evolved during the pandemic. I noticed many of the thriving products were digital products.
I also have a cousin who, at the time, was a medical student at the heart of the pandemic in New York City; who witnessed the turmoil in hospitals as medical students had to take on the roles of nurses and doctors rather than watching and learning. She said she saw many horrific things and wouldn’t wish them on anyone.
So, why did I want to become a doctor?
For the first time, I questioned this absolute dream of mine.
In my 11th grade year, I applied to Genesys Works. I was accepted, and I joined their summer training program. Soon after, in 12th grade, I was given the opportunity to intern at Optum. This was the perfect blend of my interests in healthcare and technology. I was placed on an AI Platforms & Transformations team, where we developed geospatial mapping tools and worked on managing a dev platform for machine learning. My team and I built a website, successfully marketed it through campaigns, and created insightful maps using location data. I even learned Python and led a UX and UI project to redesign our team’s website. This experience marked a pivotal shift in my career aspirations from medicine to computer science.
Naturally, I am a very creative person. So, when I decided to combine my love for building products and the journey of making a product successful, I knew I made the right decision.
Once I began my college journey, I realized the opportunity GW has given me allowed me to have a significant head start in my field, enabling me to interview with many other companies, secure my own internships, and build an impressive resume. As a result, I’m now on my way to securing a fourth internship this junior year with companies many people dream of.
And because of these experiences, I’ve gained the ability to work comfortably on a wide range of products, break down large projects using my developmental process, and collaborate effectively within scrum teams, where I’ve taken on roles as a developer, product owner, and scrum master.
Today, I can look at recruiters and say,
“Hi, my name is Fartun. I’m a junior Computer Science student at the University of Minnesota looking for life’s next biggest challenge. With 3 years of internship experience in diverse industries such as Healthcare, Banking, and Agriculture within software engineering, product engineering, and product management roles, I am a future Software Engineer overflowing with creativity, curiosity, and innovation.”
After I graduate in May of 2025, my goal is to become a software engineer, with dreams of eventually launching my own startup to address an interesting problem related to low customer retention rates within small restaurants. Here’s some food for thought: For many small restaurants, 7 in 10 customers never return after their first visit.
Surprising, isn’t it? I definitely think it is.
So, once again, thank you to everyone here today and to the Genesys Works team for making this event possible. Genesys Works provided me with an airplane in a race against runners, and it’s almost impossible to lose with that kind of opportunity. I’m truly grateful for the journey it has set me on. Thank you again, and have a wonderful evening!