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Dynamic Edge Women in STEM Scholarship

2 winners, $2,000 each
In Review
Application Deadline
May 21, 2024
Winners Announced
Jun 21, 2024
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Degree/Certificate of interest:
Identify as a woman
Michigan or Tennessee

At Dynamic Edge, every team member understands the power of positive communication and genuine empathy, resulting in superior client service. Helping people isn’t just a goal – it’s an integral part of the Dynamic Edge culture and workplace. As a leading IT services provider in Ann Arbor and Nashville, Dynamic Edge is also keen to support its local communities in new and innovative ways. This principle not only lies in the workplace but also in their communities. 

Today’s U.S. STEM workers remain male-dominated. While women comprise nearly half of the entire workforce, only 27% of the STEM workforce identify as women. Still, those figures are starting to shift prominently. Gender diversity in STEM will pay dividends down the road as many different types of people will be required to solve the most complex challenges.

The Dynamic Edge Women in STEM Scholarship will award $2,000 each to two women (one in Michigan and one in Tennessee) who plan to pursue STEM degrees or certifications.

To apply, please write about your favorite tech invention of the past 10 years and why or what your goals are as a Dynamic Woman in I.T.

Selection Criteria:
Essay, Impact, Ambition
Published February 20, 2024
Essay Topic

What is your favorite tech invention of the last 10 years? Why? What do you hope to contribute to the world through your studies and pending career?


What are your future goals as a Dynamic Woman in I.T?

400–600 words

Winners and Finalists

June 2023

Sophia Straub
Kamilah Jones
Abigail Borden
Keller Johnson
Coi Galbraith
Eloise Williams
Addison Knight
Caitlin Johnnides
Zoe Brodin
Maleeha Mughal
Reese Poteralski
Amelia Skibinski
Chloe Eden
Zyail Pritchett
Liam Garris
Sydney Anderson
Amelia Lutzke
Dania Saeed

September 2022

September 2021

Chenice Perttu
Jennifer Davies
becca temple
Paige] Myers
Madison Hall
Reaghan Boone
Rylee Wilson
Courtney Norwood
Lanna Lewis
Cheyenne Graves
Amzi Molina
Savannah Roth
Bryanna Marie Wylie
Maren Blanchard
Riya Shah
Taylor Gilbert
Natalia Capella
Liberty Hunsberger
Salina Mastropietro
Kylea Ho
Jayden Mulder
Sabrina Walchak
Josie Clement
Alexis Metzler
samiya ross
Elizabeth Gordon
Kaitlyn e
Hibah Fatteh
Jessica McKee
Ellie Drenten
Kaelin Schiffer
Emily Lezotte
Adaora Emenyonu
Amanda Meade
Kayla Ross
Rebecca Zaldivar
Natalie Hilliker
Takai Jones
Kayla Kohr
Ashley Jones
Dara Jernigan
Rachel Falls
Ava Hamilton
Hannah Bershing

Winning Application

Rachel Todromovich
University of Michigan-Ann ArborBloomfield Township, MI
Imagine you were able to buy a device that would prolong your life for 20 years, 30 years, or maybe even more. . . would you do it? As of 2014, this question is no longer a hypothetical. My favorite tech invention of the last 10 years is the 3D-printed heart sleeve or 'electronic glove' as the Independent calls it. When I first saw this piece of tech, I marveled at the design and I was almost in disbelief of what it could do. It seemed like something straight out of a science-fiction movie. There have of course been advancements and progress in the design, as recent as 2020, and scientists hope to put this life-saving device to use in the coming years. A combination of biology, medicine, and technology, the device uses a web of sensors and electrodes to tap into the heart's electrical activity and mitigate heart conditions like restarting your heart in the event of cardiac arrest. This is my favorite invention because it combines fields that I'm interested in as careers, medicine and technology, into one life-changing innovation. This device pushes the boundaries humans have established between life and death as well as the boundaries in healthcare today. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in America and a device like this could help significantly reduce these numbers if it's used among the general public. It can prolong people's lives as well as improve their quality of life. It can also spark discourse about difficult situations: if an individual is brain dead without any possibility of recovery, should this device still be operating in the patient's body? Would this life-saving device have the greatest positive impact on the world, considering economic status? New technology, especially in the medical field, comes with so many considerations, which makes them even more of a hot topic. This device is incredibly captivating and I personally look forward to future developments. As I've mentioned, I've had a lifelong interest in medicine and technology, and plan to pursue a career in medicine as I go through undergraduate and medical schooling. I'm old enough to remember when my parents upgraded their flip phones to the very first iPhone models and when my elementary school upgraded our computer lab from clunky early-generation Macs to sleek Dell computers. I've seen an enormous amount of technological advancements in my short lifetime and medicine is no exception. Advancements such as the heart sleeve mentioned above is something that improves life expectancy for afflicted individuals but more importantly, it can improve a person's quality of life. Going into this field, that's my top priority. I want to utilize innovations in biology and technology to improve quality of life for future patients.
Averie Kulbeda
Beech High SchoolGoodlettsville, TN
To many, the word “technology” immediately brings to mind something modern and artificial. Complex coding and algorithms, intricate machinery, potent chemical reactions- it’s perceived as exclusively synthetic, the antonym of nature itself. However, by definition, technology is simply the application of scientific knowledge to the practical aims of life; an invention can be a process rather than a complex robot or device. Because of the common perception that technology is “unnatural,” one of my favorite inventions of this decade relates to something rather unexpected: fungi. Beneath the dark soil of the forest, an intricate web of delicate tendrils grows, connecting every living thing, from the tallest tree to the humblest plant. This web is known as mycelium, the vegetative part of fungi that’s used to break down organic matter into nutrients. It hosts a network of extraordinarily fine, yet durable, hyphae, which is constructed into complex structures that allow forests to communicate and share resources. Scientists at Ecovative, a company dedicated to growing sustainable materials, invented a revolutionary way to utilize mycelium in 2012 called AirMycelium: a method that manipulates the mycelium via controlled conditions and specialized growing chambers. This system takes advantage of a natural process known as cytokinesis, in which mycelium fills all available space by weaving its hyphae, optimizing growth and strength while wasting little energy. Through this process, scientists are able to coax the mycelium into forming thick mats that can replicate other organic structures, creating a sustainably revolutionary biomaterial. This can be utilized to create a variety of products, including synthetic bacon, faux leather, packing foam, and even construction materials- and once it’s harvested, the product leaves only a biodegradable compost behind. By working in tandem with nature, Ecovative has created an entirely sustainable biomaterial that might just be our future- and the Earth’s. However, biomaterials are just the beginning; fungi have immense potential in the realms of medicine, food, sustainability, and the preservation of our ecosystems. This potential is what fuels my fascination with fungi, stemming from my life-long connection with nature. When I was younger, this connection manifested as catching frogs in my backyard, creating habitats and studying them for hours at a time. As I’ve matured, I’ve turned to exploring the unknown, constantly researching the natural world around me. I spend much of my free time wandering the woods identifying every species of fungi I encounter, recording their conditions of growth, collecting specimens, and researching their historical and modern usages in order to understand their specific role in our ecosystem. Fungi is the most intricate and vital aspect of our ecosystem's communication, functioning as something akin to a “brain,” and yet we’ve hardly scratched the surface of its capabilities. It connects a cycle beyond our comprehension, allowing organisms to feed off each other and communicate in ways we have yet to understand. This cycle is precisely why I aspire to study ecology and mycology as a career. Humanity has so much left to learn from fungi in every context. I aim to uncover the secrets of this vital network by researching fungi within the ecosystems they support, and analyzing ways in which we can utilize its intelligence to save our planet. By working in tandem with fungi to create sustainable products, and using it to further understand our ecosystems, the potential of what we can create is astonishing. In just the past decade, so much has been discovered regarding the capabilities of fungi; imagine how much more humanity can discover in the years to come. It's inevitable; fungi are the future, and I aspire to be a part of it.
Allison Prentice
Southeastern Illinois CollegeBrandon Township, MI
I envision taking STEM into nature where it can be utilized to save the lives of countless people. This will change the way people see and interact with national parks. As a National Park Ranger, I plan on using technology to give people the freedom to explore while knowing they are safe. One such invention that helps accomplish this is using Google Earth to make the world smaller. Chris Sheldrick, Jack Waley-Cohen, Mohan Ganesalingam, and Michael Dent divided the world into 57 trillion squares, three meters by three meters. What3Words was born. What3Words was built out of necessity to deliver band equipment to different venues and has evolved to save lives. Wrong addresses, streets that do not exist, and confusing GPS coordinates can leave anyone lost. On the side of a mountain, the situation can get scary quickly. It is difficult to get help when the location is unknown. What3Words has developed different ways to use its application based on real situations. If there is a cell phone signal click Find Me and send the 3-word location to the rescue crews. They will know the location within 3 meters by 3 meters. In the National Parks, there are locations without a cell phone signal or WiFi, What3Words has safeguards to help find people. If the sky is visible, the app uses satellites to find the 3-Word location. Enter the 3-Words in compass mode and follow the arrows to the location. You can use the 3-words to navigate to that location using the turn-by-turn navigation app that has been loaded for offline use. The app includes 50 different languages to ensure everyone can understand the words. The What3Words application is already changing how cities save lives. With What3Words, 911 callers no longer need to struggle with describing their location. Click the Find Me icon and the app generates 3-Words that mark the exact location. By sending the 3-Words to the rescue department, valuable time is saved. The exact location can also help decide what agency to send and what supplies are needed. The equipment needed is different if the location is in the ocean versus the forest. The Los Angeles City Fire Department has saved over 170 lost and injured hikers. What3Words has even helped find people buried in rubble after a tornado once a cell signal was found. As part of the National Park Services, I hope to change the way we locate lost and injured visitors. This will enable us to quickly get them the help they need and not put rangers in additional danger. The What3Words app has other uses when visiting national parks. These include guiding guests to a location and allowing them to feel confident when moving about the park. This would also assist with getting the application on visitors’ phones. I feel technology such as this is critical to the National Park Services, because it can change the way they operate and make the experience for visitors safer and more enjoyable while not affecting the beauty and national significance of the park itself. As a National Park Ranger in Law Enforcement, I hope to advocate for the safe and responsible use of technology in rescue situations. I believe there is a way to respect people’s privacy and still use technology to save lives. In the United States, we have the infrastructure available through satellites to detect problems and locate victims. However, currently, subscriptions for services and a lack of personal smart technologies are creating inequity in people that can be located and saved.
Bailey Johnson
Duke UniversityCleveland, TN
For millions of years, humanity has been transfixed by the stars. We gaze endlessly up, searching for meaning in the lights’ patterns. In April 2017, eight telescopes followed this tradition by turning their sights to the same infinitesimal patch of sky. They weren’t looking at the stars, however. They were looking at the 6.5 billion solar mass black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy. This team was the Event Horizon Telescope and they gave humanity its first image of a black hole. The reason the EHT team was able to accomplish this feat was through a technique called Very Long Baseline Interferometry. Capturing an image of M87*, roughly 53 million light-years away, would require a telescope with a diameter nearly the size of the Earth. However, by using VLBI, telescopes across the world synchronized, creating an Earth-sized virtual aperture. The technique was not entirely new, but it had never before been tested on such a large cosmic object. Scientists from as far as Spain to the South Pole came together, across barriers of language, discipline, and culture, all for the chance to look up at the sky together and see something new. This gigantic collaboration serves as a reminder that despite all of the surface differences and divisions, we are all united by the same fundamental human qualities. Black holes draw on conjure a primal sense of fear, yet we find ourselves unable to look away. We dream and we hope and we keep asking questions. Distinctions of class, race, and gender cease to matter when faced with such cataclysmic power. When I first learned about the EHT, I was captivated by the existential awe of M87*. My initial fascination never subsided, but as the years went by, I found myself increasingly drawn to the logistics of the undertaking. Behind each physicist and astronomer was a team of computer scientists creating new algorithms to sift through the combined 5 petabytes of data. In a time in which algorithmic aversion is at an all-time high, this little footnote reminded me of why I got into computer science. Technology has this immense power to bring people together, to allow for Earth-sized telescopes to capture impossible images, and to make sense of internet-breaking data. It is this hopeful vision of technology I aim to encourage through my work. At Vanderbilt Summer Academy, I took a course called Anthropology in Action in which I explored the role of technology in activism and presented my research on algorithmic bias. Two semesters later, I submitted my capstone project on the implications of human-like artificial intelligence to my local community college. Through each of these experiences, recentering the human in the technology conversation was my driving purpose. As I transition to my next phase of life, I carry that knowledge and mindset with me. For my first semester at Duke University, I will a member of the Modeling in Economic and Social Sciences FOCUS group. By living and learning with these talented people, I hope to channel the spirit of collaboration exhibited by the EHT team. As a woman in STEM, too often have I felt alone and excluded by my peers. In traversing this path, I have gotten comfortable with this discomfort, but as I progress, I pave the way for other women and marginalized groups to follow. I have learned that while I can accomplish much alone, we would all do well to remember the EHT and the great heights we can reach when we hold each other up.
Christina Marogi
Macomb Community CollegeSterling Heights, MI
It is no doubt that we are in the middle of a technological revolution. Ever since I was younger, I have dreamed of a future in which we can turn on the lights effortlessly by clapping our hands or using our voices. I would have never imagined that my dream would become a reality a decade later. Due to this factor, one technological innovation that has become my favorite within the past ten years would be digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. These devices are not only convenient but have changed daily tasks at home and the workplace. Digital assistants have changed the way people do their chores at home. For instance, instead of spending a back-breaking day vacuuming the house, you can ask Amazon's Alexa to turn on a vacuuming robot such as Roomba. Also, if you are not in the mood to wash the dishes, you can ask Alexa or Google Assistant to turn on the dishwasher if it is also a smart device. Digital assistants can also serve as personal shoppers. You can ask the assistant to create a shopping list, add items to the cart at Target or Amazon, and even purchase those items. These assistants would also give out recommendations based on your shopping habits. Digital assistants are also child-friendly. For instance, children can ask the assistant to play a game or turn on a movie. Another positive would be the ability of these devices to help children with their homework and speech. Digital assistants such as Amazon's Alexa can encourage children to rephrase their sentences or pronounce a difficult word correctly. Not to mention, parents can monitor their children's screen time using digital assistants. When it comes to the workplace, a digital assistant can replace a human assistant or a secretary. For instance, like a human assistant, a voice assistant can also order lunch, schedule appointments, answer phone calls, and note important dates. Digital assistants could save the company money since employers don't have to pay additional salaries. Not to mention, the digital assistant can record voice memos, create, and even send emails. When I finish college, I plan to be a software engineer; I love the idea of using code to make programs that would simplify daily tasks. Another idea I love that comes with my career is being able to encourage more females into STEM. As a female studying Informational Technology (IT), I noticed that males usually outnumber females by 20-7 in the classroom. Not to mention, my female classmates drop out of these IT classes at a higher rate than my male classmates. This issue is not only occurring at my college but also in other higher institutions across the world. Schools and employers need to find ways to decrease the gender gap to give everyone confidence in STEM. During my studies, I plan to join an organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in STEM. I also hope to create a tutoring program that helps female students struggling in STEM subjects. I also plan that the tutoring program would also let the students become the mentor. The goal of the tutoring program is to help female students become leaders by using the knowledge they learned in class and tutoring to help other girls. During my career in Software Engineering, I hope to create a website or an app for females interested in STEM. This website or app will contain information about each STEM profession, games, activities, as well as informational and motivational videos.
Carmen Arielle Palileo
Science Hill High SchoolJohnson City, TN
After sunset, the open ocean steals its colors from the sun. It burns magenta, orange, and brilliant gold before extinguishing in infinite darkness, matching the depths below. Only then do plankton, fishes, squids, eels, jellyfish, and a plethora of other animals commute en masse to feed at the surface; when the sun rises, they return from whence they came. The ocean twilight zone is a vast, dimly-lit region of the ocean where diversity abounds. Long-jawed anglerfish, 50-meter-long siphonophores, and the like catch krill, copepods, or bioluminescent bristlemouth fish. Many gelatinous decomposers feed on the detritus that falls from the waters above; these organisms are highly elusive, relatively unknown, and easily disturbed. Mesobot, a hybrid underwater vehicle, can dive up to one thousand meters below sea level to observe marine life where it is too deep to send human divers and too costly to send submarines. It has white-to-red LED lights, a stereo pair of cameras, and another for high-resolution images. Using epipolar geometry and image processing software, Mesobot autonomously tracks fragile microorganisms on their daily migrations, following from a respectful distance. Most propeller designs agitate the surrounding water, preventing scientists from observing in situ behavior. With this in mind, engineers fitted Mesobot with large, low-powered thrusters that generate minimal hydrodynamic disturbance. The result is a 250 kilogram, 1.5 meters tall, slow-moving vehicle that can hold its depth to the centimeter, enabling it to observe zooplankton closer than ever before. As a Tennessean, my childhood interest in marine biology may seem out of place; however, I find this fascinating: for thousands of years, people have sailed the seven seas, dived beneath its waves, or launched submarines where a select few can fathom, but only recently have we been able to create research platforms to explore it at this level of depth and detail. Mesobot is a novel, investigative tool. The behaviors, lifecycles, and life histories of twilight zone species are up to speculation. Their ecological niches in local food webs are shrouded in mystery. Scientists know that these organisms transfer nutrients to the ocean floor, but they lack data to describe the twilight zone’s role in the global carbon cycle. Information never leaks on its own, and from an empirical perspective, it is impractical to leave such questions up in the air. More than eighty percent of the world’s oceans remain unmapped and unobserved. With a looming climate crisis burdened by limited knowledge, there is a critical need to understand how society’s increasing demand for marine resources impacts seventy-one percent of the planet. The most-traded food commodity in the world is seafood. Livestock and aquaculture depend on fishmeal, and millions subsist on modest incomes from fisheries. Even so, illegal overfishing operations in the open ocean compromise food security and the well-being of workers at sea. Krill fishing, for example, could provoke the collapse of the Antarctic ecosystem, already weakened by rising global temperatures. When I go to college, I want to study mechanical engineering with a focus on robotics. I want to realize robust platforms to collect data, so marine biologists may better understand twilight zone species and methods to protect them from overexploitation. The twilight zone and the deep sea are Earth’s final frontier, and one of the best ways for me to explore it is to build a vehicle to push the boundaries of what is possible.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 21, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jun 21, 2024.

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