For DonorsFor Applicants
user profile avatar

Shanice Handley

1485

Bold Points

2x

Nominee

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Hello! I'm currently a student at the University of Chicago double majoring in Computer Science and Race, Diaspora and Indigeneity with a minor in Media Arts and Design. I'm very passionate about the intersection of computer science, social justice, and art. I'm interested in the ways computer science can be used to bring change to marginalized communities in their fight against systemic racism, environmental justice and several other issues. I'm also interested in how computer science, art, and social justice work together to tell untold stories from communities that society should start listening to and learning from. Studying at UChicago is a huge milestone for me as well as my family. Pursuing my education in Chicago will allow me to start building a life for me, my family and the generations to come. I'm eternally grateful to be attending this university and the opportunity to grow during my time here and beyond. My ultimate goal is to use my skills and experiences to make an impact in my community, inspire others from marginalized backgrounds to pursue their interests in STEM, and work towards a more equitable future for our society. I hope to be an influential voice in my community, championing social change and joy.

Education

University of Chicago

Bachelor's degree program
2023 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Ethnic Studies
    • Computer Science
  • Minors:
    • Design and Applied Arts

Bartlett High School

High School
2019 - 2022

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Computer Science
    • Intercultural/Multicultural and Diversity Studies
    • Design and Applied Arts
    • Science, Technology and Society
    • Public Policy Analysis
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Computer Software

    • Dream career goals:

      UX Engineer

    • Content Team Member

      Kinda Sorta Brown
      2023 – Present1 year
    • Building Manager

      University of Chicago Student Centers
      2024 – Present7 months
    • Project Manager Intern

      NuCoord
      2024 – Present7 months
    • City Ambassador

      Kode with Klossy
      2022 – 20231 year
    • Team Lead

      Voodoo Café
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Community Ambassador

      Kode With Klossy
      2022 – 2022

    Sports

    Lacrosse

    Varsity
    2019 – 20234 years

    Awards

    • Defensive Player of the year
    • Team Captain

    Research

    • Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies, Other

      iFeminist — Student Research Writer
      2021 – 2022
    • Wind Farming

      Governor's School for Emerging Technologies at Tennessee Technological University — Student Researcher
      2022 – 2022

    Arts

    • Kode With Klossy

      Graphic Art
      I designed several social media graphics for KWK's community app
      2021 – 2022

    Public services

    • Advocacy

      Social Justice Resources Website — I created the website and act as a designer for it as well.
      2021 – 2023
    • Advocacy

      Self-Started: Books for Brilliance Book Drive — Project Leader
      2022 – 2023
    • Volunteering

      Learn to Be — I am a tutor for students struggling in mathematics, English and other subjects for students in Kindergarten to 8th grade.
      2022 – Present
    • Public Service (Politics)

      Encode Justice — Tennessee State Chapter Lead
      2023 – Present
    • Volunteering

      YMCA — I assisted in big events such as the St. Jude 5K run and also helped in organizing events.
      2016 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      The Life Church of Memphis — Teacher Assistant - I helped kids become comfortable in the classroom, prepared snacks and crafts as well as teaching lessons.
      2015 – 2020

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    I’ve always felt like there were these little voices in my head. In elementary school, they seemed benevolent, telling me I was smart and capable. This shifted in middle school and beyond. The voices started to berate me, pointing out all of my flaws. They made me think every person who was ever nice to me did it out of pity. The voices made me dislike almost everything that made me who I am. As I started dealing with family issues, not fitting in at school, and feeling disconnected from everyone, my mental health began to decline to an increasingly unhealthy state. It wasn’t until the middle of high school that I was able to start understanding my battles with mental health and start shaping my goals and future. Dealing with thoughts of self-harm in middle and high school at first made me think that I would never graduate from high school. Not only out of inadequacy but due to the belief that I wouldn't see it happen. However, my mom was able to support me through this time. She would sit and talk through every bad thought that ran through my mind and slowly but surely started reassuring me that I had a reason to be here. My talks with her reinforced the things that I had been passionate about as a kid. She would remind me about my love for reading, problem solving and learning new things. I soon started to see a future growing for me. I realized I wanted to work in the tech industry to nurture my love for problem solving; I also want to serve as a mentor for young Black kids who also don’t feel like they have a future waiting for them. I’ve started working with a nonprofit that does this exact work in Chicago and it’s rewarding knowing that these kids are steps closer to recognizing their own futures. My experience with mental health really emphasized all the silent battles people are facing within themselves. Often, I could fake a smile, reassuring people I’m fine when all I could think about was being far away from everyone. Now, I feel that I’m able to better empathize with those who are battling mental health and the various experiences that come with it. I understand pushing away those you care about. I understand wanting to rot away in solitude. I find these experiences really important especially as I attend school in Chicago where so many people who look just like me are battling mental health on top of various other systemic issues. I feel that I’m able to understand what they’re going through and even advocate for their humanity to people who refuse to see it. Most importantly, my battle with mental health made my love for friendship and companionship stronger. I often found myself wanting to be alone all the time when battling depression. It was my mom who pushed me to interact with my family more. She started encouraging me to join clubs for my interests in reading, technology, and trivia. Looking back on this time, I’m really grateful for the words of encouragement my mom spoke to me to encourage me to build connections with people. I feel like this really saved me. Now, as I look back, I know my younger self would be so happy about the life I’m living with friends who genuinely care about my wellbeing. I know younger Shanice would be happy to know we learned how to shut out the voices in our head.
    CEW IV Foundation Scholarship Program
    Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, a city rich in history and ongoing struggles for equality, I witnessed firsthand the impacts of various social issues from racial inequity to environmentalism. In one of the most prominent cities in the South, my upbringing was shaped by the vibrant culture as well as the harsh realities of systemic injustice. These experiences have fueled my passion for racial equity and intersectional feminism, which I believe are some of the most pivotal issues that need to be addressed as we work towards rebuilding a more just society. In almost every aspect of my life growing up, racial inequality found a way to seep through. From education to policing to healthcare, it took me a while to realize that these issues weren’t just happening out of nowhere. There’s a reason why the schools in Memphis are still heavily segregated. There’s a reason why in various neighborhoods, you can find a liquor store on almost every block. There’s a reason why every time the news turns on, someone’s been shot and killed in a homicide. There’s a reason why Tyre Nichols, a young Black man who loved photography, was fatally beaten by five police officers in early 2023. None of these incidents are by coincidence. These incidents that seem to happen all the time in our communities are the work of systems that are constantly working to keep the Black community from reaching a world of rest and liberation. My passion for intersectional feminism began at home. My mother, though not self-identifying as a feminist, imparted values central to the movement. Her teachings about being a Black woman shaped my views. However, many Black women, including myself, often felt excluded from mainstream feminism. In school, Black and Brown girls faced harsher dress code enforcement than white girls, highlighting the racial disparities within feminist spaces. These experiences have followed me in college, seeping into the classroom. I’ve had white women talk endlessly about issues in feminism that are mostly focused around white, cisgender, middle/upper-class women. As I would bring up issues that I found to be some of the most pressing for my community of Black and Brown women like economic inequities, food insecurity, and gun violence, I felt that these issues were put on the back burner for the issues of white women. These issues are so dear to my heart because of how multifaceted they are. Racial inequity doesn’t just stop at dealing with police brutality and feminism doesn’t just stop at ensuring abortions are legal in this country. They include various intersectional, niche topics from education to healthcare to food insecurity to gun reform to environmentalism. They impact so many people’s lives and I find it paramount that all of these intersections are discussed and deeply considered as we continue to work towards a more just world. I especially care about these issues due to my upbringing in the South and now attending college in Chicago. Since starting university, I’ve met people who have barely stepped foot in the South and have had very ignorant opinions on what the region is like. They write off southern people as if the South isn’t one of the most diverse regions in the country. I’m passionate about young people, especially in the South, getting involved in the issues they care about to combat narratives that we’re backward. As Andre 3000 of Outkast said, “The South got something to say.”
    Innovators of Color in STEM Scholarship
    For the longest time, I swore I would never work in any field remotely close to STEM. Growing up, I struggled with math a lot. I would sit at the dining room table in my mom’s apartment and ball my eyes out for hours because I would struggle to understand some concepts. I could do well with calculations but struggled a lot with understanding concepts. Hand me a really complex word problem and I was guaranteed to sit with my hands on my head in confusion and frustration. I figured that since English and Social Studies seemed to be my best subjects, I was destined to pursue a career solely focused on the two. No math or STEM related topics needed at all. I figured I could just suffer my way through middle and high school, make do in my STEM classes, and go on to be an author or professor or something in that field. Until freshman year of high school, this was what I figured my life would end up being. However, the summer before sophomore year was the year I realized I’d been giving the STEM field a really hard time. I attended Kode with Klossy, a coding camp for young girls and gender-expansive youth. There, I was surrounded by one of the most supportive communities. I was given the grace to learn and struggle within this new world of computer science. I felt comfortable and confident asking questions, voicing my confusion, and being vulnerable in my learning process. As the weeks went on in the camp, we began working on our group capstone projects. We were tasked with providing a solution or sparking awareness for a social issue we were passionate about. My team and I worked on a website that spoke out about the importance of intersectional feminism. As I worked on this project, I got the feeling that this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to learn how to build websites, apps and software that benefited people’s lives. I wanted to study the principles behind designing software from a user perspective and the effect that has on the way people interact with software. After the camp, I enrolled in my first computer science class at my high school. Now, in college, I’m pursuing a degree in Computer Science where I can study all the intricacies of the field and explore my niche in coding for social change. My goal is to use what I’m learning while in school and apply it to my community. Living and going to school on the south side of Chicago has made me aware of the digital divide for young students as they often aren’t given the same opportunities to explore studying STEM and computer science specifically. I’m currently working with NuCoord, a nonprofit that’s working to expose underserved students in Chicago to the possibilities waiting for them in the tech industry; with them, I've become more excited to impact young students in STEM through volunteering and mentorship. As a Black woman pursuing a career in computer science, it’s so important for me to give back. As I develop further in my career, I want to prioritize my community and ensure I’m volunteering my time to them by coordinating STEM programming for young students, especially Black students. Through mentorship, I hope to give students the clarity that I didn’t get when I was starting out. Most importantly, I want to ensure I’m making the industry a place that’s welcoming to those who look like me and ensure they have a place for themselves.
    William Griggs Memorial Scholarship for Science and Math
    I first became a leader in my own household. As the eldest daughter, I’d been expected to excel in every room I entered, not just for myself, but for my family and my community. From a young age, I took on significant responsibilities around the house and in life. “Go help your sister get ready for bed”. “Make sure your siblings get their homework done”. “Watch your sister while y’all playin outside”. These commands soon became second nature. It was understood what my role was. While the pressure to be a perfect example often felt overwhelming, it shaped my character immensely. In high school, balancing AP classes, after-school activities, household chores, work, and caring for my siblings was challenging. Most times, I managed it but every once in a while, things would come crashing down. My salvation came through community involvement. As part of an honors program, I volunteered weekly, assisting with middle school lacrosse practices and mentoring junior varsity players. Lacrosse marked my first taste of leadership outside of my home, showing me the value of guiding and inspiring others. Watching younger players grow and knowing they looked up to me was incredibly rewarding. This shift in perspective allowed me to embrace my role at home. I began to see the skills I’ve learned as a leader in my household and my community as an integral part of who I am and who I want to continue to be. Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, I witnessed how limited opportunities and systemic inequities worked together to cause struggles within my community. Growing up with my mom opened my eyes to many of these inequities, especially as they impact Black women. We battled hot water and lights being shut off, limited options for healthy food, and unsafe neighborhoods. While grateful for the sacrifices my mother made to ensure I could get a quality education, I know many of my peers were not granted the same opportunities. This fueled my passion for STEM and social justice. I became fascinated with computer science, discovering a lover for building websites, apps and software to address social inequities. At the University of Chicago, I’m pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Race, Diaspora and Indigentiy. This unique combination allows me to use technology and data to highlight and address racial and social inequities. My goal is to work in research at the intersection of these fields, focusing on human-computer interaction during my time at the university. By engaging in interdisciplinary research, I plan to develop my skills in developing innovative technological solutions that can provide tangible benefits to marginalized communities. Once I graduate, I aspire to work with an organization dedicated to tackling issues related to race, poverty, and education, providing computational support through data analysis and software development. I envision developing platforms that can track educational disparities, offering policymakers the tools to implement evidence-based interventions. Additionally, I want to create software that facilitates access to resources for underprivileged communities through healthcare services and educational materials. My impact is deeply influenced by my upbringing and I want to know that the work I do would make the lives of the people I grew up around significantly better. My upbringing has deeply influenced my aspirations. I aim to make a significant impact, improving the lives of those in my community through my work. My journey has taught me that leadership is rooted in using one’s skills and experiences to uplift and advocate for others. I’m committed to fulfilling this now and for years to come.
    Delon Hampton & Associates African Americans in STEM Scholarship
    I first became a leader in my own household. As the eldest daughter, I’d been expected to excel in every room I entered, not just for myself, but for my family and my community. From a young age, I took on significant responsibilities around the house and in life. “Go help your sister get ready for bed”. “Make sure your siblings get their homework done”. “Watch your sister while y’all playin outside”. These commands soon became second nature. It was understood what my role was. While the pressure to be a perfect example often felt overwhelming, it shaped my character immensely. In high school, balancing AP classes, after-school activities, household chores, work, and caring for my siblings was challenging. Most times, I managed it but every once in a while, things would come crashing down. My salvation came through community involvement. As part of an honors program, I volunteered weekly, assisting with middle school lacrosse practices and mentoring junior varsity players. Lacrosse marked my first taste of leadership outside of my home, showing me the value of guiding and inspiring others. Watching younger players grow and knowing they looked up to me was incredibly rewarding. This shift in perspective allowed me to embrace my role at home. I began to see the skills I’ve learned as a leader in my household and my community as an integral part of who I am and who I want to continue to be. Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, I witnessed how limited opportunities and systemic inequities worked together to cause struggles within my community. Growing up with my mom opened my eyes to many of these inequities, especially as they impact Black women. We battled hot water and lights being shut off, limited options for healthy food, and unsafe neighborhoods. While grateful for the sacrifices my mother made to ensure I could get a quality education, I know many of my peers were not granted the same opportunities. This fueled my passion for STEM and social justice. I became fascinated with computer science, discovering a lover for building websites, apps and software to address social inequities. At the University of Chicago, I’m pursuing a double major in Computer Science and Race, Diaspora and Indigentiy. This unique combination allows me to use technology and data to highlight and address racial and social inequities. My goal is to work in research at the intersection of these fields, focusing on human-computer interaction during my time at the university. By engaging in interdisciplinary research, I plan to develop my skills in developing innovative technological solutions that can provide tangible benefits to marginalized communities. Once I graduate, I aspire to work with an organization dedicated to tackling issues related to race, poverty, and education, providing computational support through data analysis and software development. I envision developing platforms that can track educational disparities, offering policymakers the tools to implement evidence-based interventions. Additionally, I want to create software that facilitates access to resources for underprivileged communities through healthcare services and educational materials. My impact is deeply influenced by my upbringing and I want to know that the work I do would make the lives of the people I grew up around significantly better. My upbringing has deeply influenced my aspirations. I aim to make a significant impact, improving the lives of those in my community through my work. My journey has taught me that leadership is rooted in using one’s skills and experiences to uplift and advocate for others. I’m committed to fulfilling this now and for years to come.
    Xavier M. Monroe Heart of Gold Memorial Scholarship
    As I continue through life, I've begun to realize algorithms were dictating my life. At the time, I didn't realize as a young kid but as the years went by, it came together. I struggled to find pictures on Pinterest that showcased natural Black hair. Every single search had to be followed with “black girl”. Even then, there were very few images that met my needs. When I try to find TV shows and movies featuring black people, Google and I seem to be misunderstanding each other. This sense of misrepresentation seemed random and unimportant but as I began venturing into STEM, I found that it was harmful. When I became interested in STEM, it was hard to find other Black people, especially Black women, in the field. My teachers and classmates didn't represent me; they didn't understand that it wasn't easy to jump into this field without the resources to do so. Without seeing Black women in my desired field, I became less motivated to pursue this career. These algorithms continue to highlight the harm that a lack of representation can do. With human-computer interaction, I want to redesign tech to meet the needs and wants of marginalized communities. I want young Black girls and girls of color to feel included when interacting with tech. I want to ensure the lives of underrepresented groups are enhanced through technology. With these struggles, I went on a long journey of uncertainty, confusion, frustration and lots of imposter syndrome. After finding a community of women and nonbinary people who helped me find my purpose in the tech industry, I knew something had clicked. As I'm surrounded by people who wish to see me succeed as I venture into college as a Computer Science major, I want to be that mentor for young Black girls who also feel confused about the tech world. I want to help them realize Black girls belong in the tech industry. That Black girls can merge their passions for dance, writing, politics and so much more with STEM. As I continue my education as a Computer Science and Media Arts and Design double major with a Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity minor, I hope to use my knowledge and experiences to mentor young Black and brown kids, especially young women and nonbinary people, through their education and careers. I want them to have the representation I couldn't find. I want to use my experiences in policy and race studies to understand the setbacks young kids of color face when pursuing STEM careers and the lack of resources they have in the education system. My goal is to provide resources for my community, whether it be accessible websites or mentoring sessions, so they can succeed in the career of their dreams. I want to ensure every little Black kid knows they can achieve their goals and go after them even when the odds seem to be stacked against them.
    A Man Helping Women Helping Women Scholarship
    I never thought I would be pursuing a computer science degree. I found myself lost in math and science classes, afraid to speak up out of fear that I was alone in my confusion. I swore off STEM for all of middle school and the beginning of high school. Until Kode with Klossy came into the picture. The summer before my junior year, I applied and got accepted to this summer coding program for young women interested in technology. After two weeks of coding websites, discussing the ethics behind tech innovations in society, and singing pop songs, I rediscovered my initial love for technology. Kode with Klossy reinforced my place in technology, showing me I could pursue my passions in the tech industry. I found the space to praise tech while still critiquing the leaps tech must go through to truly be inclusive. As we discussed the downfalls of tech, I realized my passion for using tech to drive social change within my community. Bridging tech with social justice has become the niche I wish to grow in. When I think of my future career in technology, two images pop up in my mind. I envision myself sitting in a collaboration room, every other chair around me filled by a software engineer or a UX designer. Those roles alone would struggle to get a website published, an app running, or a product ready to be released. Together, they’re able to collaborate to get this done. As a UX engineer, I want to be the glue that holds our team together. Being a UX engineer allows me to bridge my interests in software development and design. However, this career isn’t just about designing user-friendly apps and websites. I want to ensure that the products a company or firm chooses to develop are designed in a way that doesn’t leave people behind. Often in the technology industry, products are not accessible to underrepresented communities. I want to ensure that people of marginalized backgrounds are listened to when it comes to the design of a website or app. Additionally, I see myself speaking to large crowds on the importance of diversity in STEM. I see myself speaking on panels detailing my experiences as a Black woman within the slowly diversifying field. I see myself contributing to a nonprofit encouraging young Black and brown children from underserved communities to find their path in STEM. At the heart of my career is a focus on people. This need to motivate, inspire and look out for others drives the impact I want to have on the technology industry.
    Chris Jackson Computer Science Education Scholarship
    I never thought I would be pursuing a computer science degree. I found myself lost in math and science classes, afraid to speak up out of fear that I was alone in my confusion. I swore off STEM for all of middle school and the beginning of high school. Until Kode with Klossy came into the picture. The summer before my junior year, I applied and got accepted to this summer coding program for young women interested in technology. After two weeks of coding websites, discussing ethics behind tech innovations in society, and singing Taylor Swift, I rediscovered my initial love for technology. Kode with Klossy reinforced my place in technology, showing me I could pursue my passions in the tech industry. I found the space to praise tech while still critiquing the leaps tech must go through to truly be inclusive. As we discussed the downfalls of tech, I realized my passion for using tech to drive social change within my community. Bridging tech with social justice has become the niche I wish to grow in. When I think of my future career in technology, two images pop up in my mind. I envision myself sitting in a collaboration room, every other chair around me filled by a software engineer or a UX designer. Those roles alone would struggle to get a website published, an app running, or a product ready to be released. Together, they’re able to collaborate to get this done. As a UX engineer, I want to be the glue that holds our team together. Being a UX engineer allows me to bridge my interests in software development and design. However, this career isn’t just about designing user-friendly apps and websites. I want to ensure that the products a company or firm chooses to develop are designed in a way that doesn’t leave people behind. Often in the technology industry, products are not accessible to underrepresented communities. I want to ensure that people of marginalized backgrounds are listened to when it comes to the design of a website or app. Additionally, I see myself speaking to large crowds on the importance of diversity in STEM. I see myself speaking on panels detailing my experiences as a Black woman within the slowly diversifying field. I see myself contributing to a nonprofit encouraging young Black and brown children from underserved communities to find their path in STEM. At the heart of my career is a focus on people. This need to motivate, inspire and look out for others drives the impact I want to have on the technology industry. ‘ This scholarship would be a large factor in my career journey as it would provide the financial stability to focus wholeheartedly on my coursework and excel in this field. I would have the financial means to pay for the next few quarters of my schooling and prioritize the academic and professional skills needed to achieve my dreams of bridging computer science and social justice.
    Ruebenna Greenfield Flack Scholarship
    As someone who values connection, human-computer interaction seemed like the perfect area to explore just that. Sometimes, there’s so much focus on technology and the technical aspects of it. However, the design aspects of tech are just as important. As a young Black girl growing up, I encountered several algorithms dictating what I viewed and more so what I didn’t. I struggled to find pictures on Pinterest that showcased natural Black hair. Every single search had to be followed with “black girl”. Even then, there were very few images that met my needs. These algorithms continue to highlight the harm that a lack of representation can do. With human-computer interaction, I want to redesign tech to meet the needs and wants of marginalized communities. I want young Black girls and girls of color to feel included when interacting with tech. I want to ensure the lives of underrepresented groups are enhanced through technology. I was met with this opportunity in the summer of 2022. Over the years, I began to feel hopeless. I turned on the news and was met with protests and turmoil on my screen. I would sign petitions advocating for another young Black person killed by the police and repost the powerful words of activists yet nothing seemed to do any good other than educating my peers. I needed something to channel the anger and hopelessness I felt while experiencing this injustice occurring in our country. So I turned to coding. Over a few months, I typed endlessly on my laptop. I searched for non-profits providing mentorship to Black youth in their community. I found petitions working to right the wrongs made by the criminal justice system. I searched for activists working tirelessly to make our environment a liveable one. My website, Awujo Resources, became a hub to act on the issues people care about. From reproductive health to voting rights, I highlighted the hard-hitting issues affecting people across America and the world. This website showed me the importance of human-computer interaction; it showed me the impact that technology can have, inspiring people to spark change. This website ultimately showed me how much more work there is to be done in the social impact sector. After working on my website, I started thinking. What if there was a website or app that inspired young students from underrepresented backgrounds to merge their passions with technology? What if there's a job out there that uses computer science and data to see the impacts of policy decisions on communities? Growing up, I never saw STEM careers described in a way that catered to the "activist" in me. They were two different worlds for me. I figured I would have to give up my passion for social justice, a less "lucrative" career, for a stable career in computer science. However, I now see I don't have to compromise; I can do both to change my community. As I start my freshman year, I hope to pursue Computer Science and Public Policy. I want to find a career that marries the two seamlessly; allowing me to use technology to impact the policy decisions impacting our communities every day. While I'm not entirely sure what career that will be, I'm grateful for the journey ahead of me to explore where I will fit best. I'm grateful for the chance to impact my community in a way I know my family dreamed they could have done. I hope my career influences change that my ancestors could only dream of.
    Strong Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship
    Growing up, leadership seemed synonymous with “outgoing”. I never thought I could be the president of a club, or the captain of a team because I wasn’t the most extroverted person in the room. However, I’ve come to understand leadership doesn’t come in a “one size fits all model”. Through my involvement on the lacrosse team and my experiences with Kode with Klossy as a Community Ambassador, I’ve come into my role as a leader and advocate for people with similar experiences to my own. As an athlete, it’s frustrating to deal with criticism. Whether it’s from parents, coaches, referees, or even the other team, I often find myself getting frustrated with my circumstances and my performance. Over the years, I’ve worked on my coachability; I began to understand the value of taking in that criticism and implementing it into my performance. When I became captain of the varsity team, I grew more aware of how important it was to be a role model of coachability to my team. If there was a bad call from a referee, I didn’t argue and I went back to the game. If I made a horrible pass, I acknowledged my coach’s tips on getting passes to my teammates. I wanted to present myself and our team in a positive light even in unfavorable situations. Mentorship has always been an integral part of my lacrosse experience and inevitably my journey in STEM. When I joined the lacrosse team freshman year, I was comforted through the process by a senior goalie. She showed me the ropes, gave me tips and became a listening ear for me on and off the court. I appreciated her sincerity and I wanted to emulate that as new girls joined the team. I soon became the mentor, giving new goalies tips for success. As I worked to be a mentor for new goalies, I came into mentorship with Kode with Klossy. Before my junior year of high school, I attended Kode with Klossy's summer program to learn how to code; I knew then that Kode with Klossy would be a key player in the rest of my life. With them, I learned to advocate for myself academically; I became comfortable expressing confusion. Younger me would've seen that as a sign of weakness but now I recognize the willingness to ask for help as one of the strongest signs of a leader. When I began my internship as a Community Ambassador, I realized the power of social media as a form of representation. If one Black girl saw my TikTok on inspirational women in STEM, they might apply to Kode with Klossy and be exposed to the world of STEM like I was. I embraced this role by attending speaker panels where I described the impact Kode with Klossy had on me and encouraged others to take advantage of the opportunity. My qualities as a leader don't come from my ability to be the loudest in a room or even the most courageous at times. It comes from my need to support those who dream of seeing themselves represented. It comes from the people who were in my shoes and wishing to help them through their journey. My leadership is deeply rooted in ensuring everyone in my community is respected and represented.
    Henry Bynum, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
    As I've grown, I've begun to realize algorithms were dictating my life. At the time, I didn't realize as a young kid but as the years went by, it came together. I struggled to find pictures on Pinterest that showcased natural Black hair. Every single search had to be followed with “black girl”. Even then, there were very few images that met my needs. When I try to find TV shows and movies featuring black people, Google and I seem to be misunderstanding each other. This sense of misrepresentation seemed random and unimportant but as I began venturing into STEM, I found that it was harmful. When I became interested in STEM, it was hard to find other Black people, especially Black women, in the field. My teachers and classmates didn't represent me; they didn't understand that it wasn't easy to jump into this field without the resources to do so. Without seeing Black women in my desired field, I became less motivated to pursue this career. These algorithms continue to highlight the harm that a lack of representation can do. With human-computer interaction, I want to redesign tech to meet the needs and wants of marginalized communities. I want young Black girls and girls of color to feel included when interacting with tech. I want to ensure the lives of underrepresented groups are enhanced through technology. With these struggles, I went on a long journey of uncertainty, confusion, frustration and lots of imposter syndrome. After finding a community of women and nonbinary people who helped me find my purpose in the tech industry, I knew something had clicked. As I'm surrounded by people who wish to see me succeed as I venture into college as a Computer Science major, I want to be that mentor for young Black girls who also feel confused about the tech world. I want to help them realize Black girls belong in the tech industry. That Black girls can merge their passions for dance, writing, politics and so much more with STEM. As I continue my education as a Computer Science and Public Policy double major with a Race, Diaspora and Indigeneity minor, I hope to use my knowledge and experiences to mentor young Black and brown kids, especially young women and nonbinary people, through their education and careers. I want them to have the representation I couldn't find. I want to use my experiences in policy and race studies to understand the setbacks young kids of color face when pursuing STEM careers and the lack of resources they have in the education system. My goal is to provide resources for my community, whether it be accessible websites or mentoring sessions, so they can succeed in the career of their dreams. I want to ensure every little Black kid knows they can achieve their goals and go after them even when the odds seem to be stacked against them.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    Future Shanice is a warrior - she speaks out for the injustice she sees within the tech space while ensuring people who look like her are advocated for; she's making time for reading, constantly learning and reflecting; but future Shanice is also giving herself rest, never taking on too much to the point of burnout, she's making a life for herself on her own terms.
    Xavier M. Monroe Heart of Gold Memorial Scholarship
    “What do you think, Shanice?” My AP Literature teacher requests my voice, asking me to lend it to our discussion about Frankenstein. A couple of years ago, the old Shanice would have spontaneously combusted at speaking out loud in class. The younger me was so afraid of how people perceived the words that came out of my mouth. I never felt like my authentic voice was appreciated. I silenced myself a lot, shielding my true feelings and inner thoughts from the world. This followed me throughout school. In my English classes, it was hard to answer questions about my thoughts on our current reads. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to say. My notes, musings, and observations flooded the margins of the novel. Pages and pages of my thoughts could be found, but not my voice speaking them into existence. I would cower behind my classmates, wishing my teacher wouldn't choose me to speak out. Even as I avoided the opportunity to speak up, I longed to share my opinions. When our discussions in history class turned to the civil rights movement, my leg would shake, my hands unable to still. Not out of anxiety but out of excitement about the topic. I longed to share my interests in the work of the Black Panther Party or the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement that I researched, but couldn’t muster the courage. I wouldn’t say there was a particular moment that changed my ability to speak up, but rather the culmination of multiple moments. There’s an interview by Audre Lorde that spoke to me in my freshman year of high school: “When I wrote my first poem, I was in high school, and I was a mess. I was a mess. I was introverted, hypersensitive, I was too intense. And all the other words people used for little wild black girls who were determined to live.” This quote felt like it was plucked right out of my journal. I wrote in journals, scripting poems, short stories, and potential novels as I felt like these musings would never be taken seriously. I always thought as a Black girl, what was so important for me to say? But seeing Audre Lorde, one of the most influential writers and activists of our time, express the same experiences as I, I felt seen. I began to dive into the work of prolific Black women authors and playwrights like Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, and Ntozake Shange. I found myself in their work, seeing myself portrayed as the main character, not a sidekick or comedic relief. I found myself as the unreliable narrator, the young girl unsure of what her future looks like, the headstrong character. In school, it was rare that we read the works of Black women writers. Discovering these writers on my own sparked something in me. Seeing the legacies these women have created for themselves, in a world that works hard to silence our voice changed me. Seeing the ways they struggled to speak out and how they overcame it and went on to publish their most personal stories solidified something for me. Even when the world consistently works to silence the voices and work of women, especially Black women, we continue to put ourselves out there and strive for greatness. Gradually, I began to raise my hand. I began volunteering to lead discussions in class. Everytime I spoke, I felt like the spirit of Morrison, Lorde, Hurston, and Shange were with me, encouraging me to keep going. To answer my teacher's question, I have a lot to say.
    Lyndsey Scott Coding+ Scholarship
    As someone who values connection, human-computer interaction has emerged as the niche I hope to dive into in college. Often, there’s so much focus on the technical aspects of the technology and software we develop. However, the design aspects of tech are just as important. As a young Black girl growing up, I encountered several algorithms dictating what I viewed and more so what I didn’t. I struggled to find pins on Pinterest that showcased natural Black hair. Every single search had to be followed with “black girl”. Even then, there were very few images that met my needs. These algorithms continue to highlight the harm that a lack of representation can do. With human-computer interaction, I want to redesign tech to meet the needs and wants of marginalized communities. I want young Black girls and girls of color to feel included when interacting with tech. I want to ensure the lives of underrepresented groups are enhanced through technology. Over the years, I’ve felt hopeless. I turned on the news and was met with protests and turmoil on my screen. I would sign petitions advocating for another young Black person killed by the police and repost the powerful words of activists but nothing seemed to do any good other than educating my peers. I required something to channel the anger and hopelessness I felt while experiencing this injustice occurring in our country. So I turned to coding. Over a few months, I typed endlessly on my laptop. I searched for non-profits providing mentorship to young Black youth in their community. I found petitions working to right the wrongs made by the criminal justice system. I searched for activists working tirelessly to make our environment a liveable one. My website, Awujo Resources, became a hub to act on the issues people care about. From reproductive health to voting rights, I highlighted the hard-hitting issues affecting people across America and the world. This website showed me the importance of human-computer interaction; it showed me the impact that technology can have to inspire people to spark change. This website ultimately showed me how much more work there is to be done. After working on my website, I started thinking. What if there was a website or app that inspired young students from underrepresented backgrounds to merge their passions with technology? Growing up, I didn’t see a lot of representation within STEM; Black girls just didn’t seem to be scientists or coders or engineers. I want to help other students like me see the way technology and engineering can merge with their passions of dance, writing, and so many others. As I venture into college, I want to pursue Computer Science and Public Policy with a Graphic Design minor. Throughout my college career, I look forward to designing technology targeted at young students of color to encourage them to pursue STEM fields in higher education. I hope to also explore the ways technology and policy come together to influence people’s lives and how I can ensure marginalized people aren’t negatively impacted by these influences. Technology offers a multitude of opportunities. For me, it grants me the chance to merge design with coding to develop interactive and engaging websites and apps. It also allows me to make my mark on the world merging social impact with tech. Through computer science, the impact I can bring to my community is boundless.
    Kenyada Me'Chon Thomas Legacy Scholarship
    Two clicks later, I pressed submit. My application for Kode with Klossy, an organization teaching young girls to code, was sent. Although I lacked experience, technology fascinated me. Soon, I prepared for my first day of camp, my stomach churning with anticipation and anxiety. Exploring this new and foreign field was nerve-wracking yet exciting. As the first day came and went, my fears dissipated and excitement remained. I fell in love as my hands typed several lines of code. From designing the front end of mini-websites in HTML and CSS to manipulating web pages with the DOM, I found a language that gave me the freedom to create. Our technical lessons were supplemented with a social perspective of computer science. “Culture of Tech” sessions allowed me to analyze the history of excluded people in tech and my role as a Black woman in the field. Every day, I eagerly contributed to our discussions about the importance of diversity in STEM. These sessions showed me that computing wasn’t all technical; it’s social, bringing communities together to solve social problems. Fashion. Dance. Entrepreneurship. Before KWK, I was unaware of the intersecting industries that pair with computer science. Speakers from these sectors spoke about their experiences finding their place in tech as a woman. They shared tips for finding your niche within STEM. Throughout camp, I grew close to many girls passionate about merging technology with social issues like environmental justice and mental health. These inspirational people showed me the possibilities of computer science are limitless. Following camp, I wanted more. I wanted to continue using technology for social change. So I created a website that compiles resources to help people recognize their passions for social change. Several hours went into researching petitions, nonprofits, and activists to highlight on the website. With the current climate of our country, I felt helpless, like there was nothing I could do to enact change. Through this website, I found hope. As I added a new nonprofit, I realized that there were people like me wanting to make a difference. Those nonprofits and petitions reminded me that there are solutions, that humanity isn’t lost. My website kept me grounded in this uprooted society. I also searched for people like me in the CS field, a mentor of sorts. I found several. Joy Buolamwini’s work as a “poet of code” has encouraged me to stay in this field even when it doesn’t feel made for me. Her work in diminishing the implicit biases within artificial intelligence and her consistent efforts to merge social justice with technology inspires me every day. The work of women, especially Black women, in this field enacting equitable change drives me to pursue computer science. The work of these amazing women influences me to explore the ways I can encourage more women of color to venture into tech. I hope to create a networking app that encourages women to venture into tech-related jobs while giving them the tools to expand their skill set. This app would ensure that women and gender non-conforming people of color have the resources they need to dive into the career of their dreams. It will be the app I wish I had growing up. It will be the app I wish the women in my family could have had to propel them into meaningful careers. With computer science, I discovered a beacon for creativity and change. Through coding, I found an outlet to create and design for communities. Computer science gives me the power to change the world.
    Dynamic Edge Women in STEM Scholarship
    When I think of my future career in technology, several images pop up in my mind. I envision myself sitting in a collaboration room, every other chair around me filled by a software engineer or a UX designer. Those roles alone would struggle to get a website published, an app running, or a product ready to be released. Together, they’re able to collaborate to get this done. As a UX engineer, I want to be the glue that holds our team together. Being a UX engineer allows me to bridge my interests in software development and design. However, this career isn’t just about designing user-friendly apps and websites. I want to ensure that the products a company or firm chooses to develop are designed in a way that doesn’t leave people behind. Often in the technology industry, products are not accessible to underrepresented communities. I want to ensure that people of marginalized backgrounds are listened to when it comes to the design of a website or app. Currently, my time is occupied with Kode with Klossy, an organization teaching young women how to code. As a Community and City Ambassador, I thrive in my ability to convey the inspiring and supportive community of Kode with Klossy through my TikToks and Instagram stories. When I envision my future, I see myself speaking to large crowds on the importance of diversity in STEM. I envision myself speaking on panels detailing my experiences as a Black woman within the slowly diversifying space. I see myself beginning a nonprofit encouraging young Black and brown children from underserved communities to find their path in STEM. Kode with Klossy will continue to prepare me for my future as a community organizer and advocate within the tech industry. At the heart of my career is a focus on people. This need to motivate, inspire and look out for others drives the impact I want to have on the technology industry. When I envision my role within tech, I always return to this quote from Yara Shahidi: “We don’t integrate, we recreate.” This quote was also inspired by a line from James Baldwin’s novel, “The Fire Next Time, where he expresses his reluctance to “integrate into a burning home”. These two influential quotes frame the way I see tech evolving now and in the next few years. I don’t wish to integrate into a flawed industry; I want to redesign how underrepresented people view and interact with the tech industry and vice versa. My presence within tech will spark conversations on how we recreate the field to be inclusive for all. In my future as a dynamic woman in I.T., I will envision tech to be a place that welcomes the lived experiences of a diverse range of people.
    Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship
    One of my biggest concerns over the past few years has circled this one idea: what will the world look like when I’m 35 years old, established in my career and possibly starting a family? With the onset of climate crises across the world, I constantly ponder the life I will live because of my present reality. I worry about the depletion of energy sources as our world grows larger. When I came across the concept of smart cities, I was enamored with the possibility to use digital solutions to create more liveable futures. Smart cities use a combination of ethical data collection and advanced tech to improve life within urban environments. Sensors and cameras can provide real-time data about traffic, air quality, and other important aspects of urban life. This data is integrated into the city’s public safety management, energy grids, and transportation systems. Overall, smart cities engage with their citizens, encouraging first-hand participation in urban planning. An aspect of smart cities that particularly intrigues me is how they can break down barriers that present-day cities further facilitate. A common theme in major cities when discussing access to public transportation is the lack of access predominately Black, Latino, lower income, and other excluded groups have to jobs and other opportunities through public transit. Often, it can take over an hour for residents to travel from work to their homes, which becomes a disadvantage to several groups of people. With the integration of data collection relating to public transit, the city’s transit systems can visualize the impact of having a lack of access to reliable public transit. This data will be incorporated into the city’s planning, opening up more routes that accommodate those in need. Smart cities offer solutions for air quality monitoring, water and waste tracking, and energy use optimization to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One of the biggest concerns with large cities is the lack of sustainability as the world grows closer to the climate crisis. However, these digital solutions can be the catalyst for transforming cities into worlds we can envision ourselves surviving in. As we see our society continue to down spiral when managing civic unrest alongside several other crises, smart cities emerge as a stepping stone to a more equitable and sustainable future.
    Share Your Poetry Scholarship
    She is a woman of wounds. For her body is full of scars that tell stories Cuts and bruises that speak volume Rips and tears that have yet to be mended. Her neck is covered up by makeup and turtlenecks. Revealing rope marks and handprints From times breathing seemed like something unattainable. Forearms and wrists covered by sleeves, Cuts placed all over them Tallies marking the number of times she hated herself The number of times when breathing was just too much Under hoodies and jackets, A gaping hole is where her heart should be. Torn out from the many times it’s been stabbed, lacerated, and ripped apart Tucked away for safekeeping Her skin tells too many tales Discloses her secrets to the public Reveals her truth to the world Her scars may never recover For new ones appear as old ones fade For wounds never truly heal A reminder etched on her skin To make itself known Make itself noticed In some ways, Her wounds are a reflection of herself They both are hidden But want to be noticed by anyone We try our best to make a mark, But soon We will fade away Never staying for too long. But maybe her wounds are battle scars For depression be the enemy That keeps coming back They represent an ongoing battle inside her Hopefully, one day she will win.
    She Rose in STEAM Scholarship
    My household has always heard tales of skepticism around technology. When gifted an Echo Dot for Christmas, my dad jokingly banned it from his presence. But it wasn’t a joke. My mom worries about my phone listening to our conversations. As I grew older, I began investigating this fear instilled in my parents and stumbled upon the dark history of Black people being subjected to “scientific experiments” such as the Tuskegee Experiments. My parents’ silly suspicions were deep-rooted in systems that view them as a threat. While writing a research paper about the social implications of artificial intelligence, I expanded on this history as our current reality embraces techno-racism. With a degree in Computer Science, I will explore this skepticism within underrepresented communities in the context of technology that works to harm people of color. I hope to dissect and redesign algorithms that work to keep people that look like me from being denied housing and other means of generational wealth. Through this, I want to help end generations of trauma around finances to lead towards a new generational trend of health. A tradition where minorities do not have to worry about being denied affordable loans due to the color of their skin. A tradition that dismantles predatory systems that continue to keep minorities from gaining generational wealth. I want to leverage data science to dissect the healthcare system as well. My mother went through difficult pregnancies and as a Black woman, this led our entire family to worry about her safety. Using data science, I want to become a storyteller for women like my mom. I want to use data to show the inequities occurring within maternal wards, the inequities that are leaving Black families broken as mothers do not receive the care they deserve. Bridging data science with storytelling, I hope to highlight this drastic issue and several others impacting the care people of color receive in hospitals. Black women’s maternal health will be just the beginning. I hope to continue leveraging data to reveal hospitals that do not provide enough care to immigrants who do not speak English as a first language. I will use data to ensure that everyone, especially minorities, receive the healthcare they need and deserve. Just like my parents, I’m skeptical of technology. I’m terrified of the potential repercussions that arise for my community. By examining the intersection of race and technology within society, I will impact the fields of computer science and policy to ease my community’s suspicions and finally heal them from the institutional harms we’ve endured.
    Future Leaders in Technology Scholarship - High School Award
    Winner
    As someone who values connection, human-computer interaction seemed like the perfect area to explore just that. Sometimes, there’s so much focus on technology and its technical aspects. However, the design aspects of tech are just as important. As a young Black girl growing up, I encountered several algorithms dictating what I viewed. I struggled to find pins on Pinterest that showcased natural Black hair. Every single search followed with “black girl”, hoping to include a glimpse of me. Even then, there were very few images that met my needs. These algorithms continue to highlight the harm that a lack of representation can do. With human-computer interaction, I want to redesign tech to meet the needs and wants of marginalized communities. I want young Black girls and girls of color to feel included when interacting with tech. I want to ensure the lives of underrepresented groups are enhanced through technology. Over the years, I’ve felt hopeless. I turned on the news and was met with protests and turmoil on my screen. I would sign petitions advocating for another young Black person killed by the police and repost the powerful words of activists but nothing seemed to do any good other than educating my peers. I needed something to channel the anger and hopelessness I felt while experiencing this injustice occurring in our country. So I turned to code and design. Over a few months, I typed endlessly on my laptop. I searched for non-profits providing mentorship to young Black youth in their community. I found petitions working to right the wrongs made by the criminal justice system. I searched for activists working tirelessly to make our environment a liveable one. My website, Awujo Resources, became a hub to act on the issues people care about. From reproductive health to voting rights, I highlighted the hard-hitting issues affecting people across America and the world. This website showed me the impact that technology can have to inspire people to spark change. This website ultimately showed me how human-computer interaction can include underrepresented groups and the issues plaguing us. After working on my website, I started thinking. What if there was a website or app that inspired young students from underrepresented backgrounds to merge their passions with technology? Growing up, I didn’t see a lot of representation within STEM; Black girls just didn’t seem to be scientists, coders, or engineers. I want to help other students like me to see how technology and engineering can merge with their passions of dance, writing, and so many others. Most importantly, I want to show young students of marginalized backgrounds that they have a place in their chosen fields even if they're the only Black person, Latinx person, woman, or queer person. As I venture into college, I want to pursue Computer Science with a Graphic Design minor. Throughout my college career, I look forward to designing a website targeted at young students of color to encourage them to pursue STEM fields in higher education. Using a social media platform, I want to advocate for diversity in STEM through my own experiences navigating the field as a Black woman. With every project I design, from websites to tech wearables, I'll ensure that it's accessible to a diverse group of people, not just society's norm. As I come into my career as a UX engineer, I will continue coding and designing for the young Black girls worldwide who don't feel represented.
    Do Good Scholarship
    Fashion. Dance. Entrepreneurship. Before Kode With Klossy, a program teaching young girls how to code, I was unaware of the intersecting industries that pair with computer science. Speakers from these sectors spoke about their experiences finding their place in tech as a woman. They shared tips for finding your niche within STEM. These inspirational people showed me the possibilities of computer science are limitless. So when I started contemplating my desired path in computer science, I found my path had been a process in the making. Since I was a kid, I've been passionate about social justice and inequity within our society. I always figured I would go into some field where I could make a difference in people's lives but I was never sure how I would go about it. When I learned to code, it clicked. I created a website that accumulates resources to help people recognize their passions for social change. Several hours went into researching petitions, nonprofits, and activists to highlight on the website. With the current climate of our country, I felt helpless, like there was nothing I could do to enact change. Through this website, I found hope. With computer science, I discovered a beacon for creativity and change. Through coding, I found an outlet to create and design for communities. Computer science gives me the power to change the world. As I continued my journey of choosing a career path, I stumbled across UX engineering. I found myself searching for countless “day in the life” YouTube videos, scrolling through LinkedIn profiles, and looking into Google's description of a UX engineer. It seemed like I found my career. At the heart of UX engineering sits the combination of coding with design. I found a field that valued how people interact with technology. Given the historical implications that systematically leave marginalized communities out of emerging innovations, I realized I could design technology that seeks to include these communities. As I envision the years ahead of me, I envision my journey to this career. I can see myself engaging in my programming and design courses during college. With an emphasis on real-world experience, I'll thrive in group projects. Over the summers, I look forward to securing internships that will strengthen my understanding of UX design and computing while upholding equitable missions. I hope to use my skills in computer science and design to give back to non-profits. I want to redesign websites and apps for these organizations to maximize their impact on their communities as our society continues to grow toward technology. When I secure a career as a UX engineer, my work will continue. As I design and code for equitable technology within my corporate role, I'll dedicate time to using technology to spark change within my community. I want to encourage young students of color, young women and young people of any targeted identity to consider a career in computer science. I look forward to using my expertise to spark passion in young people who may find their life goals within computing. At the heart of UX engineering sits a field that speaks to my soul. It's a field that gives me the fluidity to spark change within my communities. It's a field that fuels my creative and technical interests. Ultimately, UX engineering encapsulates who I am and who I will soon be. A coder. A designer. A change agent.
    Act Locally Scholarship
    When I think of my elementary, I don’t immediately draw up memories of old friends. I think of books. After finishing school assignments, I immediately grabbed the book stored in my bag. On days when I wished to be anywhere but the cafeteria, I snuck away to the library. While sitting in the comfortable bean bags with two stacks of books surrounding me, I found my safe space. During my parents’ separation, I never knew what my home would look like when I got home. The library became my world of escape. I devoured the stories of young kids fighting dragons and traveling across the country. I sped through novels about Black people in the Harlem Renaissance and the beauty of the movement. Between the shelves, I found a quiet space, a space to explore my interests, identity, and dreams. When I think of where I am now, I credit my elementary school library and the resources allowing me to explore the depths of literature. My upbringing has manifested in the community work I engage with. I joined Learn To Be, an organization offering free tutoring to students from low-income backgrounds. Every week, I strengthened my students’ reading skills with fun presentations and an engaging curriculum. When I began my senior project, I knew I wanted to return to my roots. In Memphis, only 24% of Shelby County Schools’ third-graders score proficiency in reading. Given the current movement in Tennessee to ban books illuminating the diverse experiences of underrepresented people, I felt this project was necessary. It all came together when I became aware of an elementary school starting its library from scratch. With over eight hundred books collected, the library will be full of diverse stories and engaging literature for students at Journey to dive into. Literacy starts at schools, but it begins at home. If Journey has access to hundreds of books for its students, they can borrow and take those books home. With the expansion of the library, I hope it will expand into the student’s homes. In the future, I hope to inspire students to discover the issues they care about most through literature. I hope to begin a book club for students centered around discussions about the world around us. Through this program, students can learn to articulate their beliefs appropriately. This all begins with books.
    @GrowingWithGabby National Scholarship Month TikTok Scholarship
    Femi Chebaís Scholarship
    I want to grow as a leader in my community, advocating for social change locally and nationally using technology and data. I want to ensure that people who share similar experiences to me feel that the problems affecting them can be changed for the better. I aspire to be an agent of change to ensure that future generations are living in a world they’re proud to be in.
    Jada Martin Scholarship
    Two clicks later, I pressed submit. My application for Kode with Klossy, an organization teaching young girls to code, was sent. Although I lacked experience, technology fascinated me. Soon, I prepared for my first day of camp, my stomach churning with anticipation and anxiety. Exploring this new and foreign field was nerve-wracking yet exciting. As the first day came and went, my fears dissipated and excitement remained. I fell in love as my hands typed several lines of code. From designing the front end of mini-websites in HTML and CSS to manipulating web pages with the DOM, I found a language that gave me the freedom to create. Our technical lessons were supplemented with a social perspective of computer science. “Culture of Tech” sessions allowed me to analyze the history of excluded people in tech and my role as a Black woman in the field. Every day, I eagerly contributed to our discussions about the importance of diversity in STEM. These sessions showed me that computing wasn’t all technical; it’s social, bringing communities together to solve social problems. Fashion. Dance. Entrepreneurship. Before KWK, I was unaware of the intersecting industries that pair with computer science. Speakers from these sectors spoke about their experiences finding their place in tech as a woman. They shared tips for finding your niche within STEM. Throughout camp, I grew close to many girls passionate about merging technology with social issues like environmental justice and mental health. These inspirational people showed me the possibilities of computer science are limitless. Following camp, I wanted more. I wanted to continue designing technology for social change. So I created a website that accumulates resources to help people recognize their passions for social change. Several hours went into researching petitions, nonprofits, and activists to highlight on the website. With the current climate of our country, I felt helpless, like there was nothing I could do to enact change. Through this website, I found hope. As I added a new nonprofit, I realized that there were people like me wanting to make a difference. Those nonprofits and petitions reminded me that there are solutions, that humanity isn’t lost. My website kept me grounded in an uprooted society. Along with my own website, I searched for people like me in the computing field, finding their own place in this career. I found several. Joy Buolamwini’s work as a “poet of code” has encouraged me to stay in this field even when it doesn’t feel made for me. Her work in diminishing the implicit biases within artificial intelligence and her consistent efforts to merge social justice with technology inspires me every day. Mattaniah Aytensfu opens my eyes to the intersections of coding and design. Her expertise, combining technology with new media, highlights the numerous opportunities that computer science possesses. When I see her work pop up on my social media, I'm instantly reminded of the Black women doing amazing work in this field, pursuing what they love. Mattaniah inspired me to take up creative coding, leading to my interests in immersive media design. In college, I want to explore this area and connect it with my existing passion for social justice. The work of women, especially Black women, in this field drives me to pursue computer science. As I see their own efforts in enacting equitable change, I'm inspired to do the same, continuing to design and create for communities. With computer science, I discovered a beacon for creativity and change. Through coding, I found an outlet to create and design for communities. Computer science gives me the power to change the world.
    #Back2SchoolBold Scholarship
    Give yourself a break. With the hustle and bustle of school life as well as extracurriculars, it's easy to get caught up in everything happening. You can't possibly be studying, working, running clubs without adequate rest. And rest does not just include getting 8 hours of sleep. A break can be reading on the bus ride home rather than looking over notes from your last class. A break can be taking 15 minutes to walk outside. A break can be spending time with your family and friends after studying. Taking breaks are just as important as studying and working hard. I often get caught up in being "stuck in the books", which is fine. But when you find yourself always studying and working, it can cause more stress. Taking a break in between work can help with this. By setting an attainable goal, you'll reward yourself with your favorite TV show or your favorite meal. It is very easy to burnout as a student. Combat burnout by giving yourself a break and needed rest. My Instagram handle is @shanice.talyiah.
    Jameela Jamil x I Weigh Scholarship
    As a queer black woman, my identity is constantly at war with society. When you add the fact that I grew up in the South with religious parents, things become even more complicated. For years, I worked to dismantle the queer phobic views my mom had instilled into my mind. I had to relearn everything I knew about queer identity and people to better understand my community. In this growing phase, I came to terms with my own queerness and came out to myself. I am not out to anyone, especially my mother and that probably won't change for awhile. For awhile, when my conversations with my mother turned to the queer community, I would stay silent and nod to some of the inaccurate things she would say -- too scared to respond and possibly out myself. However, I have gained some confidence when it comes to navigating conversations with my mother on such topics. Recently, I was chatting with my mom about random things as we always do. It started fine; she detailed her busy day as I commented on possible plans for tonight as a wind down. I could feel the conversation shifting as we continued to talk. The topic of transgender individuals (specifically trans women) was brought up. I could sense the conversation shifting from sharing our thoughts to pure transphobic comments. I could feel my body tense as the comments grew worse. Usually, I would listen in silence and try to change the topic once she finished her rant. However, I didn't want to just appease the way she felt about trans people and decided to express my views. I corrected comments she made that misgendered trans people. I expressed that trans women are not just trans to "act like a woman" or to simply wear dresses and makeup. They are completely valid in their experiences as trans women and should be treated with respect and care. I brought up to her that trans women are brutally murdered at horrifying rates and that she couldn't generalize trans women as people who want to embrace activities that are perceived as "feminine". I expressed to her that in society today, we should start dismantling the way we view things that are "feminine" and "masculine" and allow for different ways to express gender identity. Our conversation ended as it always does; we sat in silence for a bit before I told her I had something to do and left the room. As I walked out, something was different from other times I had walked out after our conversation. A small weight was lifted as if standing up to the comments she made finally relieved some of the pressure. My mother and I are light years away from completely dismantling the transphobic comments she holds but stating my thoughts was impactful. I had never stood up for what I thought, especially on this topic, and it was an amazing feeling. Showing up for the trans community in that moment has inspired me. I've always had strong opinions but I'd been scared to express them. That conversation with my mother fueled my passion for standing up for what's right. Now, I am confident in engaging in charged conversations and expressing my views with out any reluctance. In my future career, I aspire to continue to stand up for underrepresented communities through activism and software that will positively impact their lives.
    Bold Technology Matters Scholarship
    Imagine putting on a pair of goggles and all you see for awhile is black nothingness. Suddenly, light spreads everywhere in front of you. One second you were in pitch darkness. The next you're looking out onto a vast galaxy with stars and planets glowing brightly. You're in a large spacecraft looking at a whole new universe. This new reality that many will get to experience in the next few years is known as virtual reality. Virtual reality provides people with alternate universes and worlds to explore outside of our actual reality. VR can accomplish so many things from changing the gaming world to providing education to underrepresented communities. In the next few years, VR will prove to alter our lives for the better. The most popular use for VR, gaming, will change the way video games are played. Going from beating the boss level with a controller to actually defeating the villain by landing the final punch oneself will change the world of video games. VR takes immersive worlds to another level as gamers can put themselves into the very world they're playing in. VR will make for the most interactive gaming method ever. I think a less mentioned use for VR is its ability to provide education and access to experiences. With virtual reality, people can get access to education that cannot traditionally get. For example, students who are interested in marine biology and want to learn more about the ocean and the animals that live there typically wouldn't be able to explore this interest. Unless they lived in an area with cheap access to a marine biology program, they most likely would not be able to satisfy this interest. However with virtual reality, students could put on a pair of googles and explore the sea world without worrying about any barriers. Virtual reality can and should be fun. In our current world, where so many people are denied access to education, virtual reality can change education for the next generation.