ALPHARETTA, Ga.—The outdoor meeting in front of an office building was supposed to be the final interview for consideration for a scholarship. But when a drone flew up to deliver a bag, Bavisha Rajesh knew something more was going on.
The drone delivery bag contained a photo of a $10,000 check and the news that Rajesh was receiving the Women in Technology (WIT) Girl of the Year award for Georgia. She is the only recipient in the state to receive the award in 2020.
“I was so surprised, and I was stunned,” said Rajesh, a Dual Enrollment and Honors College student at Georgia State University’s Perimeter College.
Rajesh, 18, attends Georgia State’s Alpharetta Campus, where she is studying computer science. As a Dual Enrollment student, she takes courses at the college while continuing her high school education.
At Perimeter, Rajesh founded the Alpharetta Campus Women in Technology chapter. This semester, the group — which has about 42 members — has been hosting virtual events featuring professionals from different areas of computer science and engineering.
“I started the chapter last year,” Rajesh said. “But this year, with everything virtual, we’ve been able to do a lot more professional events, and we’ve brought in women from many companies to talk about how they got into their jobs and what they do.”
Her faculty adviser is not surprised Rajesh received the WIT award.
“As a president of our club, I see the characteristics in Bavisha that indicate that she has a very promising future as a leader in tech fields,” said Forough Ansari, faculty adviser to the WIT club and Alpharetta Campus instructor of computer science and engineering. “I found Bavisha to be highly motivated and proactive regarding her responsibilities in the club, and she always conducted herself professionally.”
Paula Bolton, senior director of programs for Women in Technology, said WIT empowers girls and women to excel in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math (STEAM) by providing female students in middle school, high school, and college with education, exposure and experience.
The Girl of the Year scholarship is given to a young woman with exemplary achievement and dedication to STEAM studies, Bolton said.
“She is fully engaged in the WIT program, attentive, actively participates and encourages others,” she said.
“Bavisha truly embodies all of the above, and we cannot wait to see all she continues to accomplish throughout the years,” Bolton said.
Rajesh says her interests go beyond science and to the arts, and she thinks that was a consideration for the scholarship judges.
“They are really looking for integration from STEM to STEAM,” she said. “I like to involve myself in different things. I’ve played the piano for eight years, and I play clarinet in the band at my high school.” (Denmark High School in Forsyth County).
Rajesh also is a member of the high school field and track team, where she competes in the shot put and discus throw.
The oldest child in her family and a first-generation college student, Rajesh says her mother is her inspiration.
“My mom is my best friend, Rajesh said. “Whenever she works from home, she shares with me all types of advice as to what it is like to work in computer science. My mom supports me and inspires me to push myself every single day.”
“This scholarship will really help me tremendously with college. I am so honored to win the award,” Rajesh said.
Rajesh will graduate from high school in May 2021 with enough college credits to enter her sophomore year in college.
The WIT scholarship is sponsored by Cox Enterprises and State Farm and may be used at any college or university. Rajesh hopes to continue her studies in computer science in fall of 2021 on Georgia State’s Atlanta Campus.