In 2016, Greg Brainerd, founder of Braintek, took action to encourage young people pursuing an undergraduate degree in information technology or related field. He did this by starting the annual Braintek Information Technology Scholarship. The program awards one applicant each year with $3,000 in scholarship funds to cover the student’s tuition and related expenses.
Applicants must reside in the greater Houston area and maintain a 3.25/4.00 grade point average. In addition to showing proof of enrollment in an accredited university with an IT related concentration of study, applicants submit an essay telling about how they overcame one or more obstacles in order to continue pursuit of their goals.
Jenna Hammond Receives Braintek IT Scholarship Award
Jenna Hammond of Manvel, Texas received this year’s scholarship award. Jenna studies information technology at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. All the applicants submitted inspiring essays of overcoming challenges and setbacks, but Jenna’s stood out from the rest. She wrote about her struggle with epilepsy and the many ways it affected her ability to focus and participate fully in school activities. This, along with another daunting family challenge she experienced, showcased her determination to overcome obstacles in a way that allows her to maintain her positive, bubbly attitude while achieving each goal she sets.
As she struggled through these difficult times, she learned valuable lessons about how to better care for herself and cope with her epilepsy. Her strong, close-knit family worked together to move past the other challenges affecting their lives, making it much easier for her to adjust to college life and maintain the academic rigor expected of an IT student.
A Girl, Google, and Robotics
Jenna first became interested in information technology as a high school freshman when she picked up the book I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. Jenna says the book was instrumental in igniting her interest in computers, robotics, artificial intelligence, and the technology surrounding them. “I saw and understood Asimov’s vision of robotics and computers and their role in the future and it was just such a positive outlook, “ said Hammond. Her father, a physician with a penchant for computers, also influenced her love of technology. “I’ve worked with my dad on computers all of my life, since it’s a hobby of his. Working with him, solidified my desire to study information technology and, one day, work in the field,” she said.
She has dreams of one day working for Google, or a similar company, and helping them develop an operating system that does away with Windows 10 and any other less than ideal systems Microsoft develops between now and then. In addition to programming, Jenna has a deep interest in artificial intelligence and robotics and hopes to have the ability to develop the infinite possibilities these areas of study offer. Like Asimov, her view on robotics and AI is a positive one and she’s determined to take an active role in allaying the typical fears and negativity people harbor about this technology.
Despite the challenges and setbacks she had to overcome, Jenna exudes positivity and a can-do attitude. Not only is she intelligent and highly motivated, she’s personable and gives the impression that she’s ready to help others she meets to overcome their own doubts and obstacles.