At Intertech, we’ve long believed in the importance of giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve our customers. The Intertech Foundation STEM Scholarship is just one of the ways we have chosen to give back. Amidst a challenging landscape, what resonated with our Grant committee was the hope and excitement the applicants have for our future. Their feelings were contagious, so much so that we decided to award four scholarships in 2020. The first two winners have been selected and notified. We’re offering two more scholarships this fall with the application process starting now.
Let’s start by getting to know our first scholarship winner Sulaiman Bada.
Congratulations to Sulaiman Bada!
Technology with the ability to learn the same way humans do is mindblowing, and Sulaiman Bada wants to be part of this amazing technology! Accumulating 19 college credits while still in high school, Sulaiman has demonstrated his determination and ability to make the world a better place with the use of technology. One example of this is his involvement in an interdisciplinary collaboration between Physics, Computer Science, and design, where Sulaiman led a team that proposed solar panels to power technology that would display environmental readings and now community information. We are proud to offer Sulaiman an Intertech Foundation STEM Scholarship for the upcoming school year.
To give you a better chance to get to know this future Machine Learning /Artificial Intelligence engineer, we have asked him a few questions.
Q: When did you first decide you wanted to be involved in Computer Science, particularly Data Science and Artificial Intelligence?
I first decided I wanted to be involved in Computer Science early fall of 2019. I chose Data Science in particular because of how it mixes so well with Computer Science. A combination of these fields makes A.I, and that is where my interest lies.
Q: What made you interested in this field and computer science??
The boundless opportunities in Computer Science and the field of A.I is what made me so interested. I love the fact that I can bring anything I can think of to life. It gives me a sense of inspiration and drive to use it to help people.
Q: Did you have any educational or extracurricular experiences during your k-12 years that helped you decide on computer science?
Absolutely. My most predominant experience was in Robotics. The program really helped me figure out what I wanted to do. There are so many different teams you can be part of in Robotics. I developed an algorithm using Slack API, google scripts, and google forms to make distributing match information throughout the team easier. Another great program is PSEO. This allows high school students who meet the requirements to go to college and earn credits. This program gave me a taste of what Computer Science is all about.
Q: What school have you selected to attend and why did you choose it for your undergraduate studies?
Winona State University, Minnesota. WSU is affordable and has a very good Computer Science department. It is also one of the oldest Colleges in Minnesota.
Q: What was the first program you ever wrote?
The first program I ever wrote was sophomore year in high school. I was in an engineering class, and we were working on making a servo motor rotate. At the time, I didn’t know much of what was going on, but I loved it. My eyes lit up when I saw something that I wrote came to life. It amazed me how symbols come together to create life to an inanimate object. My young mind realized then that there was so much more that can be done with this kind of technology.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in the Solar Panel Project and what you did for WalkUpSocks?
The Solar Panel project was ongoing for several years before I became involved. Very little got accomplished. The main objective of the project was to show how many different disciplines can come together to make something work. About 20+ strips of 64 LEDs were mounted on a board and powered by control devices called “FadeCandy.” The entire board was going to be solar panel powered, but the panel was recently taken down this spring semester of 2020. Now my goal is to use the board to display messages using Python and Java. The board will go on display in the College of Science and Engineering. With my involvement in the Solar Panel Project, it allowed me to help WalkUpSocks. This community project is designed to give the homeless a clean pair of socks to wear every day. The socks will be dispensed through a vending machine. My role was to be the “expert” on the embedded devices that’s going to power the vending machine. We were in the stage of acquiring a vending machine so we could strip it and add IoT devices to it (Raspberry Pi, Number Pad, etc.), but because of the pandemic, we had to put it on hold.
Q: Would you be willing to share your thoughts about the value of the Intertech STEM scholarship to your academic journey?
The Intertech STEM scholarship is going to impact my academic journey greatly. With this help, it’s going to make focusing on my school work easier. I can work less and do more school-related tasks. I can even think about going to grad school because I won’t be flooding in debt.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with others who may be considering a computer science career?
Always be willing to step outside the box and reach for those opportunities. They are out there. It is just a matter of finding them. Be willing to love and accept math because computer science is based on it.
Thank you, Sulaiman, for applying. We look forward to hearing about many great things from you in the future!