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The Cadence Women in Technology Scholarship Program recently awarded a total of $65,000 to 13 female students currently enrolled in colleges and studying a technical degree.
In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we're spotlighting the stories of these 13 women working to make a global impact on the industry’s future and paving the way for generations to come.
Read on to learn about about these inspiring scholars' passions, vision for the future, and advice to other young women in technology…
Andreea Bobu, University of California Berkeley
I envision a future where robots collaborate to provide a safe and better living space especially for the elderly. I am excited to receive the scholarship. I am planning to use this to travel to a robotics conference next year and to buy tools to help me work better. After I graduate, I want to be a professor of human-robot interaction. I am looking forward to training the future generation of HRI researchers. I know it can feel so hard, lonely, and disheartening in our field at times, but if this is what you love and want to pursue, don't give up. Focus on your passion, not on the naysayers.
Atefeh Mehrabi, Duke University
I am passionate about technology and am fascinated by the impact it can have on the quality of life. I want to contribute to the field of computer systems and architectures. I feel honored and blessed to be the recipient of the scholarship. This recognition has helped me boost my confidence and encouraged me to keep working harder and challenge myself by setting new goals to achieve. I am looking forward to exploring new research problems, which will push boundaries in emerging technologies. My advice is to become a support for those who are trying to pursue their dreams in this field.
Cecilia Ferrando, University of Massachusetts Amherst
I was influenced by the fact that my mathematics knowledge can be utilized in developing machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), which can unlock advances in various fields. I want to use this for the betterment of society. The Cadence scholarship has given me the financial freedom to attend events and conferences related to machine learning. I aspire to become an entrepreneur. My advice to fellow women is to become a mentor to others and inspire them.
Fan Chen, Duke University
I have always heard people say that girls have no math and science talents, women are not competent in STEM areas, becoming a female researcher is unrealistic and so on. I can recall the struggles I have experienced as well as the efforts I have made to break the unfair stereotypes imposed on female researchers in technology. I cannot say I have overcome the challenge, but one of the suggestions I would share with those who still suffer from gender stereotypes is “regardless of the stereotype people set up for women, keep moving forward to pursue your dream in technology”. You will feel the power of education. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more confident, more and more skilled. I am now on the academic job market, looking for a tenure-track assistant professor position.
Huimei Cheng, University of Southern California
I have dreamt of contributing my knowledge and creativity to society. Pursuing a technical degree allows me to learn more and explore deeper into my interested field. I am very proud of receiving this scholarship. I plan to join a company [where I can] continue my research in EDA designs. I believe that self-confidence is very important. My advice is to have an open mind and stay curious about the world.
Irina Alam, University of California, Los Angeles
My father is an engineer and has always been my biggest source of inspiration. This scholarship is a huge source of encouragement for a female student pursuing research in a male-dominated field. I truly appreciate the efforts of Cadence to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion in the field of technology. I plan to join a computer architecture research group in a company so that I continue to innovate and solve interesting problems in this field. Believe in yourself and do not be afraid to take up challenges!
Keertana Settaluri, University of California, Berkeley
My dad, who was an electrical engineer, and my mom had an influence on me choosing a technical career. My upbringing helped me not to have any fear of choosing electrical engineering. The Cadence scholarship has motivated me and has reaffirmed within me that I can pursue my dreams. I want to be a professor and help graduate students in their research careers in a welcoming, diverse, and accepting environment.
Qian Li, Stanford University
My primary school teacher inspired me to pursue a technical degree. The teacher showed how we could create a simple rock-paper-scissors game in Flash with a few lines of code, which seemed like real "magic". Ever since then, I was fascinated by the fact that we can create so many interesting applications with code. This scholarship is a great encouragement for me, a woman in technology, to remain strong and keep going. I will be more confident and work towards helping other women in STEM who are suffering from imposter syndrome. I plan to continue as a researcher in computer systems and architecture area. My advice is to believe in yourself and support each other. Be proud to declare your achievement and be brave to appreciate what you have contributed!
Qingyi Dong, Carnegie Mellon University
I believe that pursuing a technical degree will enable me to make practical changes to society. This scholarship supports my dream of being a great software engineer. More importantly, because of the positive affirmations from Cadence, I believe in my ability to fulfill my dreams and feel more motivated to do so. When you feel a little blown away by how big the challenge is, tell yourself that overcoming a challenge is fun! Moreover, always believe in yourself! It is your confidence that enables you to reach your full potential as a great engineer and leader.
Vidya A Chhabria, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
The challenging and problem-solving nature of a technical degree with its widespread applications piqued my interest. Particularly, the field of EDA, with its ability to manage the exponential increase in our capability to implement ICs that currently incorporate billions of transistors, is nothing short of mesmerizing to me. This field ties together my enthusiasm for algorithms and hardware design to enable the development of highly-capable complex systems. This interdisciplinary nature of EDA and its ability to build advanced systems with influential applications are the primary reasons I decided to pursue a PhD in electrical engineering. This merit-based scholarship will be a means for me to demonstrate my technical skills and create a foundation to achieve my career goals. My advice would be to compare yourself with who you were yesterday and strive to be better than that each day.
Yen-Ju Lin, University of California Los Angeles
Inspired by the power of physics, math, and engineering, I was determined to pursue a technical degree that I can turn my knowledge into something useful and can solve practical problems. The Cadence Women in Technology Scholarship is a great encouragement for me to pursue excellence in my research and continue my efforts in promoting women’s involvement in technology. I sincerely believe that with more and more efforts from industries like what Cadence is doing, we can keep progressing and have a more diverse and equal society. My advice is to spend some time exploring and knowing more about yourself. Your motivations deep inside your heart will be your strongest foundation. If you find engineering is your true interest, follow your heart and don’t let stereotypes affect your decisions. Another advice is to build your supporting network to reach out for advice and help.
Zheng Zhao, University of Texas, Austin
Technology and problem solving have always been my interest. My parents, friends have motivated me to pursue my passion. It is certainly a great honor. I feel very proud of myself and of being a part of the great company (I interned at Cadence once). And it is encouraging to know that Cadence, a leading company in my area, is devoted to reducing the gender gap in technology and materializing it with this special acknowledgment for women. The whole process from the application to the end has moved me to re-think and re-pitch myself as a female in technology. I believe it will be an inspiration for me in the long run. It is not easy to be a woman, pursuing an engineering-related degree/career since there are so many voices in the world telling you, whispering to you, not to. But you are doing amazing and I am proud and happy of you being with us.
Julia Gong, Stanford University
My philosophy in my academic pursuits has always been aligned with two axes: 1) doing good and 2) being creative. The idea of tech4good has always resonated with me; I've always been interested in and excited by the idea of applying technology to important issues that positively impact the lives of others, whether medical, environmental, or entertainment. This scholarship from Cadence will help me towards funding my education and will allow me to focus on doing things I'm passionate about, like my research in medical AI, my coursework, my pun comics, or other tech-driven projects that I'm excited to dig deep into. It will also give me the opportunity to meet more enthusiastic women technologists who are also in this cohort, which I'm excited about! Moreover, it will support me in my humble mission to make tech a more inclusive space and help make the world a better place, byte by byte. I'm currently thinking about pursuing a PhD in computer science or a related field. I'm particularly interested in conducting research in machine learning for healthcare and creative applications.
Congratulations again to these scholars for all that they have accomplished thus far and we thank them for sharing their stories with us. We would also like to recognize all the inspiring young women who submitted applications. These are just a few of the countless women working in STEM who inspire us, including our past and present employees, customers and partners. Thank you from all of us at Cadence!