Stepping out of comfort is her forte which is evident from her love for Hackathons. For this University of Texas junior, STEM is the way towards altering gender stereotypes. She’s indeed everything rolled in one- a handful of stupendous scholarships and achievements, activism, Bharatanatyam and Hackathons.

Her California based, girls-only- three-day camp known as EMP-WR (Engineering Math Programming Women Rule) got her the highest award in Girl Scouts back in 2018. She handled everything from fundraising to designing the curriculum and training the volunteers. It was only the beginning of her vision towards being a change-maker. From introducing girls to the fascinating world of STEM to establishing UT Dallas’s first-ever gender-based Hackathon, her trail of achievements is fully packed. 

Keep reading as we flip through her experiences as an AnitaB.org GHC scholar, milestones, and her mission- bridging the gender gap in STEM.

Major Accomplishments

  1. AnitaB.org GHC scholarship
  2. Presidential Volunteer Service Award
  3. SWE Annie Colaco Scholarship
  4.  Intel’s Andy Grove Scholarship
  5. NCWIT National Honorable Mention(2018)
  6. Girl Scouts Gold Award (2018)
  7. NCWIT Northern California Affiliate Winner (2018)
  8. Community Bank Career and Technical Education Award(2018)
  9. Folsom Cordova Education Foundation Scholarship Award
  10.  Kristen Anne Chapman-Elbo Memorial Scholarship
  11. Will Kempton High School Scholarship (2017)
  12. Seymour Northern Region Finalist(2018)
  • She is the co-founder and co-director of UT Dallas’s first-ever  women-only hackathon, WEHack
  • Scholarship featured on the blog- AnitaB.org GHC Scholarship
     
Medha's LinkedIn Profile

I think what made my scholarship application stand out this year was that I tried to align how some of my values and visions are similar to the AnitaB.Org Mission.”

Medha Aiyah

Click here to go to her LinkedIn profile

Included in the interview

The Interview

  • Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your mission?

I’m a junior at the University of Texas, Dallas. I’m an activist in my community and my goal is to bridge the gender gap within STEM, specifically in the computing field. Besides being active in student organizations on campus, I am also playing an active role in the NCWIT community in the Dallas area.”

  • Can you take through your journey as a Girl Scouts member?

Girl Scouts is a youth organization in the USA for girls, promoting essential moral qualities through camping, community services, etc. 

She says, “I promoted girls in the greater Sacramento area by conducting a camp called EMP-WR for my Girl Scouts Gold Award. I have also contributed to the creation of the Girl Scouts Central Heart of California’s STEM MakerSpace (in the Sacramento area) and their newest Mobile STEM MakerSpace.”

  • So far, how have you contributed towards encouraging more girls to join STEM?

“Through my Girl Scouts activities, especially by contributing to the STEM Makerspace mobile, I could help girls in remote areas to access STEM activities and introduce them to the fascinating world of STEM. Over 1000 Girl Scouts use the facilities. At the University of Texas at Dallas, I am currently the President of the Society of Women Engineers Section. Also, I am the co-founder/co-director of UT Dallas’s first-ever women-only hackathon, WEHack (Women Engineers Hack).”

  • Speaking of hackathons, it requires one to work under enormous pressure. What are some of the Hackathon projects you participated in?

“ I was the Logistics Lead in HackUTD, the largest Hackathon in North Texas. After being a part of the HackUTD team and attending GHC 19 and HackCon VII I wanted to create the first all-women/nonbinary hackathon in UT Dallas’s history. Thus WEHack (Women Engineers Hack), the first gender-based hackathon, was formed.”

  • Coming to GHC, why do you think you got selected given that it is one of the most popular scholarships in STEM?

“Before getting in this year, I applied to this very scholarship twice. I think what made my scholarship application stand out this year was I tried to align how some of my values and visions are similar to the AnitaB.Org Mission. I also highlighted what I would love to learn from this conference so I can impart the knowledge in my college campus and my community.”

  • Can you shed light on your GHC experience?

“I attended GHC 19 as my University funded my trip. It was a wonderful experience. The workshops I attended were very insightful and I was in full awe meeting and connecting with so many college students who are as passionate about making a difference in their communities. I also enjoyed all the networking activities that each company offered in GHC.”

  • A word of advice for our readers?

“If you see an amazing opportunity, go for it. You never know what the outcome might be unless you try.”

On asking whether she would mentor GHC aspirants, she said yes.

Being the only woman in a team of men might make you feel super rare, like a unicorn. But this generation Z changemaker isn’t settling for a small share in the pie. Being a strong voice of women in her community, she dreams and works towards increasing the involvement of women in STEM. She’s not just helping girls update their browsers and software, but also centuries-old gender stereotypes.

Are you a recipient?

We are always looking out for scholarship recipients to feature. Please reach out to discuss how we can use your experience to help others grow. Also reach out if you have been selected any special programs.

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