Meet Khanna! She is a successful woman as an engineer while her goal is to bring more STEM women together! She is one of the partners of a company known as Pretty Tech which is a competitive program for young girls to join who are interested in STEM. Read about her journey and how it is important for women to join STEM.
Khanna, tell us more about yourself!
What inspired you to be apart of STEM?
Being an engineer was not something that I chose, I believe that engineering chose me. I was in kindergarten when I started taking apart electronics. Back then it was VCR's and cassette players. I had this overwhelming desire to find out how they worked, how they were fastened together and why they functioned they way they did.
As a woman, what sets you apart from others in STEM?
I'm not sure, but if I had to choose something I would say that I don't fit the stereotypes of what a woman in STEM looks like. Which to me can be encouraging for other girls who are minorities who never imagined a career in STEM.
More and more leaders are encouraging young women to get involved in the STEM field. What advice can you give to women who want to be apart of STEM?
Leaders are encouraging women to go into STEM because there is a huge deficit in our economy right now. There are so many open jobs that can't be filled due to a lack of qualified talent. On top of that, in order for America to be competitive in the global race for new innovation it requires underrepresented talent to use their backgrounds, the experiences that they've endured in their own communities to create solutions that they may be the only ones to solve because of their close relationship with that community. My advice to other women who want to be apart of STEM is to start with thinking about what you can do to improve your community. What do you wish you had? If you wish you had it you should create it. Sometimes you are the only one closest enough to the problem to create a solution. Lastly, just because there may be a solution that solves your problem doesn't mean it’s the best solution. Make it better.
Explain a few statistics about being a woman in STEM and why it is important to encourage more women to join STEM?
My favorite statistic right now is that 40% of women leave the engineering profession because of corporate culture. This is what I'm trying to solve right now with Pretty Tech, by building a more supportive community of women as well as cultivating a talent pipeline of underrepresented talent. I believe that if we can create a supportive community that helps us build marketable skills and give us a co-op job to apply those skills, we are creating an ideal environment where underrepresented talent can thrive than maybe we will have the support we need to thrive in the tech industry.
You are an Electrical Engineer which is absolutely amazing! What does your career means to you? What are some words of encouragement to give to other women who wants to become an Electrical Engineer?
My career gave me a sense of accomplishment. I was able to answer my kindergarten self on how electronics worked. I absolutely loved learning and being an engineer is a lifelong learning process. You don't just go through school and bam you know everything. Give yourself some time after you get your first job to acquire practical applied experience.
What challenges have you faced as a woman from being in STEM? How did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge was having friends that could relate to me. I don't usually see women who look like me or that I can go to lunch with in the workplace which makes me feel isolated and that I don't belong. But I realized that the STEM workforce is still steadily growing with diverse talent and that we need to encourage more young people that STEM is a viable career.
You and your partners have created a business known as Pretty Tech. What is it? What is the purpose behind the business? How can potential clients be apart of this wonderful venture?
Pretty Tech is a co-op program and a career accelerator for high school girls (16-18). Students will receive a stipend and have the opportunity to attend professional development workshops, build their network and work at Tech companies through the schools work-study program their junior and senior year of high school.
The program is extremely competitive as we are looking for students who exhibit self-motivated qualities, have selected an appropriate career track (STEM, IT and/or manufacturing) with their current high school and meet other guidelines. We are piloting our first cohort this Fall.
Girls ages 16-18 who live in the metro- Atlanta area will have the opportunity to sign up once applications open in August. We are currently looking for Tech Job partners right now who are looking to hire high-school students this Fall. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
What are some future goals that you have for yourself and your career?
My mission is to be the owner of a successful program that cultivates a talent pipeline for advancing diversity across America. We hope to bring co-oping to high schools across the nation that helps to not only build awareness to the STEM opportunities that exist in America but to be a source of training and support for life-skill readiness and job placement.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
I see myself as a thought leader in STEM bringing awareness and opportunities to underrepresented groups. In 10 years, I imagine to have had over 100,000 boys and girls go through our co-op program and to have more underrepresented groups living above the poverty line.
The purpose of the Fabuluxe platform is to help women feel fabulous and sophisticated. What advice or words of encouragement that you can give to our readers about feeling fabulous as a woman?
I didn't start feeling fabulous until I found my purpose. My journey to becoming an engineer was not typical and not easy. It wasn't until I found a way that I could use my skills to serve others that I started to feel fabulous because my life was no longer serving me but serving others. So I encourage women out there to start using your gifts to serve others and you will be and feel absolutely fabulous.
Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: @iamprettytech
Country: United States