Aiesha Esa: Achieving Career and Life Goals Through Break Through Tech

Set to graduate from Cal State, Bakersfield in May 2024, Aiesha strongly believes Break Through Tech can help her achieve her career and life goals.

Written By

My early years made me who I am today. My father was struggling during the 2009 recession, so we moved around a lot. I went to 7 elementary schools between kindergarten and 3rd grade. However, I did grow up very family-oriented. I grew up around my cousins and still live with them, along with my parents, siblings, and grandparents.

Growing up, one of the many things I noticed was how hard-working my father was and still is; he worked hard to get to where he is now. Having him as my role model gave me the work ethic I have today.

My mom is the person I admire the most. She has shown me the true meaning of hard work through her constant efforts in managing our home and nurturing our family. Her ability to create a loving and supportive environment while tending to everyone’s needs has been a constant source of inspiration for me, teaching me the value of selflessness and the importance of family.

I first became involved with Break Through Tech in May, 2023, when we began our Machine Learning Foundations (MLF) course. I was introduced by one of their great staff members, Nicole Feliciano. I was initially interested in Break Through Tech because it’s focused on helping people who identify as women or non-binary enter the technology industry. But what really drew me in was when I realized the program is not just one thing; it is an all-around experience that sets you up for life after graduation. Not only did I benefit from the MLF course through Cornell University, but I was also mentored in software engineering, received career coaching, worked on an industry project, and had the opportunity to participate in the Google Kaggle Competition.

“Break Through Tech is not just one thing; it is an all-around experience that sets you up for life after graduation”

I had already been introduced to the idea that networking is very important when it comes to finding opportunities in your career. However, my experience with Break Through Tech has totally confirmed that viewpoint. Technical skills can be taught, but it is all about personal skills and communication. The program has helped me expand my network and make connections that will be invaluable for my future career.

If I could give a younger student a piece of advice, it would be to not be shy or underestimate your potential. Never be afraid to put yourself out there and take the next step. The best thing you can do is get as much experience as you can while you are in college. It will not be easy to do summer internships or participate in programs, such as Break Through Tech AI, once you graduate.