Exploring, Engaging, and Advancing Technical Knowledge — While Paying it Forward
Thanks so much to everyone who tuned into our LIVE stream and submitted questions last Tuesday! Due to unforeseen technical difficulties after last week’s broadcast, we, unfortunately, do not have a recording of the stream to share with you.
In the second broadcast of MNAiC Alumnae Stories, I had the pleasure of speaking with Anjali Donthi, a current program participant and a 2019 Aspirations in Computing State Winner. She is not yet an alumna, Anjali is a junior at Century High School and involved in various programs like MNAiC outside of school.
Anjali had a fairly exciting and busy summer this year. She is an active member of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) and has also been engaged with the organization as a volunteer for the past five years. BDPA is an MNAiC program partner who provides hands-on training on coding and computer literacy camps for underrepresented youths at the K12 level. Anjali has also been engaged with Technovation, another Aspirations partner, for longer than she has been an MNAiC program participant. Technovation encourages young women to become technology entrepreneurs and leaders by providing a 12-week app development competition, with the goal of identifying a problem and using technology to create solutions with a social impact. Anjali has led her Technovation team as a project manager and CEO during the last two years. In addition to MNAiC, BDPA, and Technovation, Anjali also competed in the 2019 Minnesota Cup (MNCup) competition this summer— her team’s “DiscoverMe” app, a mental health awareness app, placed third in the business startup youth division pitch competition.
Anjali has been interested in medicine since she was little and had plans to pursue a college degree within that field, possibly as an MD. However, after the past few years of exposure to the technology sector through Aspirations, BDPA and Technovations, she now views a future in medicine through the lens of technology. I can totally relate as a Systems Verification Engineer for a medical device company — Anjali and I have a lot in common and had a lot to talk about. We both agree that one of the best things about careers in technology is that there are so many industries that you are able to go into, depending on your passions and interests.
This past summer, as one of the many rewards of being an MNAiC State Winner, Anjali was awarded a job shadowing opportunity with Amy Alexander, a biomedical engineer at the Mayo Rochester Clinic. She learned more about the positive impact engineers have in the medical field and particularly enjoyed learning about 3D printing and the step-by-step development process of surgical guides.
Anjali’s MNAiC 2019 State Award Winner package also includes the opportunity to network with local employers and past honorees throughout the year, scholarship consideration from a State Institutions, and eligibility to apply for the Target TWIST EPIC Award, which she did was honored in October. Anjali was also selected to be a global ambassador for Technovation — this is actually quite a big deal. As a student representative for the Minnesota chapter, she will be tasked with building awareness about Technovation amongst her peers and help with recruitment. Like myself and the rest of the MNAiC Alumnae, Anjali is passionate about encouraging more girls to get involved in technology and facilitates support sessions during the Technovation competition.
I must say, I am in awe of Anjali. With young women like Anjali, Fiona Chow (a recent Alumae guest) and other Aspirations program participants past and current, I’m confident that in the near future the number of young women in technology will not only increase, but the number of young leaders who are passionate about encouraging diversity in the technology industry will also increase.
So what’s next in 2020 for Anjali? Well, she plans to continue her engagement with Aspirations, Technovation and Minnesota Cup. She’s also exploring a higher education track in technology at college institutions here in Minnesota — yay! Anjali wants to be a biomedical engineer as well, and I, of course, had to recommend my alma mater, the University of Minnesota. Go Gophers!
You have a bright future ahead of you, Anjali! I am looking forward to following your journey in tech and seeing where the next few years take you! Thank you for taking the time out of her busy high school schedule to speak with us at “MNAiC Alumnae Stories.” It was great catching up with you, Anjali — best wishes with your studies and please be sure to update the community on your exciting endeavors and achievements!
Thank you all again for supporting the Alumnae Stories LIVE on Instagram! Don’t forget to check your emails in January and February for the announcements of the National and State Aspirations in Computing Award Winners!
ABOUT MINNESOTA ASPIRATIONS IN COMPUTING
The Minnesota Aspirations in Computing (MNAiC) Awards Program partners with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) to inspire, empower, and honor young women of high school age for their computing-related achievements and interests. The program is supported by the Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence and numerous businesses and organizations. The powerful story of honoree accomplishments does not end at a recognition ceremony in April of each year, it’s just the beginning! Over 300 young women who have been honored since the Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Program inception in 2012-2013 continue to pursue life-changing education and career opportunities, becoming accomplished practitioners and leaders in a variety of Science Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.