The Motorola Solutions Foundation seeks to benefit communities where Motorola Solutions operates by making strategic grants, forging strong partnerships and fostering innovation. One of the focuses is to support engineering programs that advance educational opportunities for underrepresented groups and students with financial need. Last year, in honor of Motorola Solutions’ 90th anniversary, the Motorola Solutions Foundation partnered with SWE to equip the next generation of female engineers with 18 SWE Scholarships! Here, we highlight recipient Kazi Sabrina Sonnet, a young woman from Bangladesh who is pursuing her Master’s in electrical engineering at the University of Washington.
What is your name, hometown, school and engineering discipline?
My name is Kazi Sabrina Sonnet. My hometown is in Dhaka which is the capital of Bangladesh. I am currently studying for a Master of Science in electrical engineering at the University of Washington.
What role does SWE play in your collegiate career?
While pursuing my career, I faced many obstacles and challenges as a woman from a third-world developing country. The social and financial hindrances used to demotivate me sometimes. But it is my self-confidence, passion and hard work which brought me to the United States of America to pursue higher studies. After starting my Master’s program, I faced more challenges than before. I had some cultural shocks, and more importantly, my financial problems were more intense than before. SWE has given me the opportunity to connect with other women who have struggled just like me and at the end achieved success by breaking barriers. SWE has really inspired and motivated me to evolve in my career. Also, winning a SWE scholarship has given me the opportunity to help pay for my tuition which is a blessing for my graduate life.
How did you pick your engineering discipline?
Solving problems by thinking in new angles rather than a conventional way and confronting the problem with an innovative approach has drawn me to the engineering field. It was my father, an electrical engineer by profession, who shaped my future career unconsciously at a very early age. The story begins when my father bought me a Pentium 4 computer in 2007. I was amazed experiencing the enormous functional capabilities of this magic box. However, my father spent more time in explaining the building blocks of the computer in the guise of telling anecdotes, which compelled me to think recurrently: how can a microchip—which itself is so small—accommodate minuscule transistors in the millions?! I was always extremely fascinated by the innovation towards miniaturization of transistors. The adventurous and wonderful electronics world compelled me to pursue electrical engineering as a career.
What do you want to do when you graduate?
I want to be a leader of women’s empowerment in the male-dominated digital health tech arena of Bangladesh and encourage women to increase their participation in this field. By using my position in the industry and possibly as an entrepreneur, I want to help women in increasing their participation in technological fields. I want to contribute to creating a sustainable future using engineering solutions which would inspire other women to utilize their intelligence, creativity, and values in solving the problems of our country.
What does it mean to receive a Motorola Solutions Foundation Scholarship?
I am in extreme financial need and the funding opportunity for MS students in my school is very limited, therefore the cost of tuition and fees might be an obstacle in pursuing my graduate studies. Most of the women in Bangladesh don’t get the privilege of achieving advanced knowledge in their specialized field due to financial problems, and I am no exception. This scholarship award can partly help me to pursue my graduate studies without facing a substantial economic hurdle. Thank you, Motorola and SWE!
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