Sofia Khan: Break Through Tech AI Mentor – Guiding Students Through Struggles with Solutions for Career Readiness

While much of Sofia’s time is focused on her job as a Compliance Officer at Citadel, one of the world’s leading alternative investment firms, she is also an inspiration for her friends and colleagues as a mentor for the Break Through Tech AI Program.


Her collaboration with Break Through Tech stems from a desire to give back that is rooted in her personal experience. “My own journey resembles the journey of several students I mentor.” says Sofia. “I come from a single parent household and a culture that did not encourage females to pursue higher education, never mind a career.” Sofia broke barriers as the first woman in her family to do both.

Guided by her academic knowledge on AI for business and combined with her industry experience, Sofia is focused on helping students transition smoothly into their professional careers by nurturing career readiness. She does this through comprehensive support in preparing job applications, honing interview skills, and helping mentees confidently articulate their viewpoints. Her mentorship is a testament to the critical role mentors play both in academic and professional development.

“The students at Break Through Tech are smart and motivated,” says Sofia. “As a mentor, I am helping to close the gender gap by empowering students to pursue a career in machine learning.”

A key aspect of Sofia’s mentorship is encouraging students to develop a ‘personal brand.’ She suggests they reflect on their achievements, leverage their strengths to build self-belief, and use their experience to demonstrate resilience and determination.

Sofia recognizes the critical role a mentor can play in developing a successful career path, again drawing on her own experience. “Over the years, I have been fortunate to be mentored by strong female and male leaders. They had faith in me and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, and I am here to do the same for Break Through Tech students. I hope to guide them towards career paths they may not have thought are possible.”

When asked to offer advice to future mentors, Sofia recommends a compassionate approach. Understanding that each student’s journey is unique, Sofia tailors mentoring sessions to create an environment where students feel heard and comfortable in sharing their story.

Summarizing the mentoring experience, Sofia again draws a parallel with her own path. “I never lost sight of my goals. The circumstances of my formative years have taught me to view obstacles, personal or otherwise, as challenges that can always be conquered by determination, ingenuity, and innovative thinking”.

Sofia’s story and her mentorship philosophy highlight the profound impact that mentorship can have in preparing students for the professional world, especially in tech. Her experience, empathy, and guidance are shaping the next generation of AI professionals, ensuring they are not only technically equipped, but also confident in their abilities.