The scholarships will help the US- and Bulgaria-based recipients pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as increase the global representation of women in STEM.
We’re excited to announce the 2022 recipients of the Mary Székely Scholarship for Women in STEM and the Women in Tech Scholarship Program in Bulgaria.
Both are part of the larger Progress Women in STEM Scholarship series, which aims to provide opportunities for those who identify as women to pursue careers in STEM.
“Every year we have the honor of speaking with a group of phenomenal young women, all of whom want to pursue a career in STEM because they seek to make an impact,” said Yogesh Gupta, CEO, Progress. “This year’s candidates are no exception. They are incredibly bright, ambitious and socially responsible. We’re confident they will succeed in achieving their goals, and we are so proud that we get to play a small part in helping them do so.”
Read on to get to know our brilliant scholarship winners and to learn more about Progress’ efforts to increase diversity in STEM:
A four-year, renewable scholarship for Massachusetts residents who identify as women, the Mary Székely Scholarship for Women in STEM honors one of our founders and the creator of Progress OpenEdge, Mary Székely.
This year’s recipient is Yiming Fang, a graduate of the Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science in Worcester, Massachusetts. Yiming is a National Honor Society member and was the founder and captain of her high school’s first all-girls robotics team.
In addition to these accomplishments, Yiming was also part of a project team that created a mobile app serving the visually impaired and further worked to develop a mobile app that helps diabetes patients monitor their blood pressure and glucose levels.
Outside of school, she founded a scratch coding club for third graders, later expanding the scope of the club to become the formal non-profit organization Free Urban Extracurricular Learning (FUEL). She also participated in VRC Robotics Community Service, where she raised funds for the Malala Fund, mentored an elementary school VEX IQ team—the world’s largest robotics competition—and started a VEX mentoring series for middle schoolers.
Yiming plans to double major in computer science and business administration at Carnegie Mellon.
“Mary Székely was an amazing woman,” Yiming said in a recent interview with Yogesh. “She bravely stepped forward to pioneer work in computer science, which, even though it’s getting so much better, is still very much a male-dominated field. That can be very intimidating.”
“I also really admire how people remember her and the impact she was able to make, not only with what she physically created and developed, but also with the way she treated people,” she continued. “Treating people with kindness and empathy is so important, and she did a really good job with that. And especially her mentoring work—young kids can learn so much. My friend and I started a scratch club where we taught third graders how to code and scratch. That was something I wish I had, because it would have gotten me into computer science much earlier.”
Watch Yogesh’s full interview with Yiming below:
In addition to awarding our Mary Székely scholarship in the U.S., this year we expanded our Women in Tech Scholarship Program in Bulgaria.
The program now includes two annual scholarships for women in their second, third or fourth year of university study of computer science, software engineering, IT and/or computer information systems.
This year, both recipients are exceptional students and participate in Europe’s Erasmus+ Youth Exchange Program, which enables groups of young people from different countries to meet and work on shared projects.
Vaselina Krazheva, a computer science major at St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia, is a graduate of the Plovdiv High School of Mathematics. She has previously interned at companies including Europweb Group, Bisoft and Orak Engineering. Vasilena also served her community volunteering to implement Google Suite for Education at the Tsar Ivan Assen II Vocational Secondary School during the COVID-19 pandemic. This ensured children were able to continue their education in a remote setting.
A computer systems and technologies major at Angel Kanchev University of Ruse, Tsvetelina Stefanova is a member of the Hall of Fame of the International Linguistics Olympiad. She was a winner of the “Student of the Year” National Prize for 2021.
With our Women in STEM Scholarship series, we’re aiming to diversify STEM fields and increase the representation of women in tech, engineering and similar areas. Part of our Progress For Tomorrow Corporate Social Responsibility Program, the Women in STEM Scholarship series is a meaningful step toward a more diverse world.
It’s also a fitting tribute to Mary Székely, a woman who had a deep passion for computer science and for fostering growth in the next generation.
Congratulations to our 2022 recipients. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the future.
Jessica Kent is a writer and editor based in Boston. As a content specialist, she has the opportunity to write about the exciting things happening at Progress, as well as the amazing people behind it all. When she’s not working, you can find her reading, going for a run or attempting to learn the guitar.
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