Dreams Amplified: Undergrad Emma Beatty Named Inaugural Goldman Sachs Women in Computing Scholar

November 5, 2018

Company gives $15,000 to support high-achieving women starting out in, sticking with STEM

As a child, Emma Beatty couldn’t hear the everyday sounds many take for granted: footsteps on pavement, leaves rustling in trees, her own stomach rumbling. Now, as the inaugural recipient of the $15,000 Goldman Sachs Women in Computing Scholarship, this second-year computer science (CS) student is one step closer to her career goal of advancing hearing-aid technology.

“It’s a big honor,” Beatty said of receiving the scholarship. “It’s exciting to set the precedent for how this award is handled.”

Beatty started wearing hearing aids in third grade and said it drastically improved her life and sparked her interest in technology. For her scholarship application, she penned a stirring essay on how being hearing impaired has pushed her to think creatively and adapt to new challenges, and how she wants to engineer hearing aids that “incorporate more of today’s technology and work more seamlessly with modern devices.”

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“Technology has positively affected my life and I know it can do the same for many others if only I continue to aspire for innovation,” Beatty wrote. “With technology, my future will not only be bright, but loud.”

A School of Computing committee scored scholarship applications based on academics, essays, resumes, and letters of reference. Beatty’s application earned a near-perfect score—the highest of anyone in her academic year and among the highest overall, committee and faculty member Daniel Kopta said. And Goldman Sachs Vice President Mark Sharrock called Beatty—who’s double-majoring in art and CS and minoring in math—a wonderful first recipient: “Her interests are diverse, her experiences different, and she has a great interest in art as well as computing,” Sharrock said. “This adds a completely different viewpoint to conversations with her.”

For Beatty, the award also provides welcome financial relief: she’s been covering most of her own college expenses through a combination of scholarships and on-campus jobs, including her current stint as a resident advisor.

The Women in Computing scholarship is a natural extension of Goldman Sachs’ ongoing School of Computing outreach efforts such as the Distinguished Lecture Series, hackathons and more. The company launched this particular award to encourage women to take and stay in STEM-related subjects, Sharrock explained.

“Diversity is vitally important to Goldman Sachs,” the vice president said. “It is at the very core of who we are.”

In the past year, women have comprised over half of Goldman Sachs’ Salt Lake City interns and new analysts, Sharrock said. The company wants to maintain their upward momentum, but they’re hoping for greater representation from Utah universities—especially the U’s School of Computing.

“By collaborating with the School of Computing more, we hope to open students’ eyes to avenues of employment that are perhaps not traditionally thought of, but are very rewarding,” Sharrock said.

They’ve opened at least one set of eyes. After being named the first Goldman Sachs Women in Computing scholar, Beatty got the chance to visit the company’s office in downtown Salt Lake City—she called it “exhilarating” to see the work environment.


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