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Brianna Stewart

485

Bold Points

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Hi ! My name is Brianna Stewart and I am a Freshman at John Jay College in NYC. I am a Computer Science and Information Security major with the goal of using my abilities to better my community from the ground up!I am empathetic and a multitasker that appreciated a good challenge. I am very active in my school community as I was elected on our Black Student Union Diversity and Equity Inclusion board and host monthly discussions on how we can better the black community. I have leadership qualities in which I use to I spend time helping my community whether it be signing petitions or attending protests. I am a reader at heart who enjoys fictional drama especially the enemies to lover trope :)

Education

CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Computational Science

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Computer & Network Security

    • Dream career goals:

      Inspiring societal changes to give back to my community

      Arts

      • Cardozo High School Step Team

        Dance
        2018 – 2022

      Public services

      • Volunteering

        New York Urban League — Registration committee member
        2022 – 2022

      Future Interests

      Advocacy

      Politics

      Volunteering

      Philanthropy

      Abhi Khune Underrepresented Minorities Scholarship
      Winner
      From a young age, I loved riddles. My fascination with riddles made me realize why I wanted to pursue opportunities in the computer science field. Both computer science and riddles require problem-solving skills. In computer science, the problems may involve coding challenges or debugging code, while in riddles, the problem may be figuring out the answer to a cleverly worded puzzle. Logic is a necessity to create algorithms and write efficient code, whereas, in riddles, the answer often requires a logical thought process to arrive at the correct solution. Computer science and riddles also require creativity. Programmers use their creativity to design new applications and solve problems in unique ways, while in riddles, the creators come up with clever ways to challenge the solver. As much as error codes may be frustrating (especially in c++), it is all worth it with the sense of satisfaction when a code runs successfully. As a programmer, I feel a sense of accomplishment when I solve a particularly difficult problem or create a successful application, while in riddles, I feel a sense of satisfaction when I finally figure out the answer. As much as I love computer science, there are challenging obstacles I will constantly have to face when expanding in the field. Some of the most controversial topics relating to women of color in computer science often center around the idea that we are not fit for this type of degree. I believe the reasoning behind this assumption includes misogyny, intellectual stereotypes, lack of resources, and discrimination. Women in computer science are constantly questioned and doubted in the technology field despite the skill set we obtain. I am currently working on creating an app that will serve as a safe space specifically for women to share job offers within the technology field, provide reviews on how a company treated them while underemployment, advocate for pay transparency, and help guide graduates in expanding within their desired field. With this scholarship, I can continue aiming for my goals to create safe spaces and opportunities for women in computer science. Accessibility is also one of my top priorities when it comes to my interest in computer science. I have been particularly interested in the cybersecurity field due to how essential it is in today's society with how dependent we are on technology. With several friends and family members whose capabilities are limited, I advocate for efficient technological ways to help individuals with disabilities function in the world. People with disabilities may rely on the use of technology to manage their daily lives, such as using assistive technology devices and apps. Protecting their personal information from cyber-attacks and data breaches is important for maintaining their privacy and security. Cybersecurity measures that are properly implemented and designed can help ensure that technology is accessible. For example, websites and apps that have proper security features can be more accessible to users who rely on assistive technology to access and navigate the web. Many people with disabilities may also need to work remotely due to accessibility concerns, and cybersecurity measures can help make this a secure option. Remote work options can also help to provide more job opportunities. Online harassment and bullying is also a major problem targeted towards those within the community. Cybersecurity measures that protect against these threats can help create a safer online environment. Cybersecurity helps protect personal information, ensures accessibility, and provides more opportunities for employment and participation in society. My goal for the current year is to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to technology and can use it safely and securely.
      Sloane Stephens Doc & Glo Scholarship
      "The Power of No: Embracing the Right to Refuse" Growing up, I never wanted to depend on my parents. I have been working since I was 12 (which is illegal in NYC), and the age gap between myself and coworkers/higher management has led to me getting completely taken advantage of for my time and effort. In such a fast-paced society, I often felt like saying "yes" is the only way to succeed. Whether it's at work, school, or in our personal lives, I was bombarded with expectations to constantly be productive, to take on more responsibilities, and to prioritize the needs of others above our own. As a woman pursuing a degree in computer science, setting my expectations as well as limitations is important for both parties. I am always pushed to be more than I can be. Whether it's by myself or by others, the expectation is always there: you can do better, you can try harder, and you can make it happen. But what if those expectations are too high? What if I don't have the ability to reach them? How will that make me feel? Will I let other people down? Will they think less of me? Will they expect less from me next time? I've found that setting my own limitations is a way to manage my own expectations, but also ensure that others are satisfied with their relationship regarding me and my work. If I set a limitation for myself and achieve it, then everyone wins. It took me years to realize that as important as it is to be a team player and to take on challenges, it is also equally important to recognize the value and power of saying "no."After having my boundaries crossed and manipulated multiple times, I have realized that saying "no" is not a sign of weakness or selfishness, but rather a manifestation of self-care and self-respect. When we constantly say "yes" to everything and everyone, we are putting our own well-being at risk. We may become overwhelmed, stressed, and burnt out, which can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health. On the other hand, when we learn to say "no," we are taking control of our lives and setting healthy boundaries. Now that I'm older and have experienced many things in life, one of my most valued characteristics is my ability to establish boundaries respectfully. Becoming an adult who could confidently say “no” when needed has helped me in all aspects of my life: from working with coworkers and employers to establishing healthy relationships with friends, family members, and myself.
      She Rose in STEAM Scholarship
      The Strongest Woman I Know Age eight At age eight, my sister was diagnosed with cancer of the blood, Leukemia. As a recent immigrant living in America, my mother went through the deepest stages of depression. Facing the fact that when she woke up every day she had to watch her child, that hadn’t even hit double digits yet, struggle for her life. Although I was only five at the time, I vividly remember my mother “going to sleep early” with the door locked, and hearing her choked back tears every night when she came home from the hospital. Although I was young and naive, I now understand why she couldn’t chaperone on school trips, why she didn’t have the time to join the PTA board with the other cool moms, why I would go days without seeing her at home, and why she always seemed aggravated. She was depressed and angry. Angry at the fact that her number one priority could be taken away at any minute because of a variety of cells. Depressed over constantly thinking about how small her child’s coffin may be. My mother is an immigrant from Jamaica, a culture that disregards mental health. She did not feel comfortable talking about her struggles to others outside her family due to fear of judgment and mental health professionals because of the stigma around depression as a whole. I am proud to say that my sister fought cancer within three years and that my mother is doing so much better, yet many families are not. As a parent, the worst thing one could imagine is watching their child suffer. Too many immigrant parents have a child who is suffering and feel they do not have the resources to seek help regarding their mental state for several reasons that include social stigmas, generational trauma, co-dependent ness, low self-esteem, trust issues, finite beliefs, and especially serving as the strong front others go to for help rather it being the other way around. After understanding what my mom and many other parents go through, my priority goal is to create an app that allows parents to be able to anonymously speak with other parents who have had to watch their child struggle. My mom has been through some of the darkest stages of depression, and she willingly reaches out to other parents with sick children as a sense of familiarity and validity. Sometimes assuring a depressed individual that their feelings are valid and it is okay to let those emotions out rather than holding them in is the most anyone could ask for. My mom may not be a therapist with a Ph.D., but she has been through constant years of torture watching her child lying in a hospital bed wondering why she couldn’t see her friends at school. Parents struggling with depression, experiencing mental deterioration, and simply seeking help yet not knowing where to start, are the exact parents that other parents who have been through similar circumstances can help guide. This app would be the first step in providing immigrant families the confidence and reassurance they need to ask for professional help. My mom once told me that the strongest thing anyone could do is to “lower their walls and reach out for help”. As a black dark skin woman majoring in computer science, my goal for the current year is to break down the social stigmas around BIPOC families surrounding mental health.