Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Monsanto Scholar: Basheer Becerra (Illinois State University)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is proud to announce that Monsanto awarded a $2,500 college scholarship to four (4) students. One of those students is Basheer Becerra who will use the scholarship at Illinois State University.

Basheer is an undergraduate student at Illinois State University pursuing a degree in Computer Science. He is majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Biological Sciences and Mathematics. His career goal is to contribute to the field of Bioinformatics either in the industry or in academic research at a university. He has been working as an IT intern at State Farm for two years, doing academic research in bioinformatics for one year. Basheer volunteered for BDPA Central Illinois High School Computer Competition (HSCC) as an IT mentor for two years.

We asked Basheer to share his thoughts on BDPA with us. He wrote,

Basheer Becerra * Monsanto Scholar
"Since October 2015, I have been a volunteer for BDPA by mentoring high school students in the HSCC program. Initially, volunteering for BDPA was for the fulfillment of teaching other students what I know about computer science. Although after two years, my purpose in volunteering has manifested into something greater, which is providing the gift of education and knowledge to underrepresented groups in hopes of inspiring young students about the field of information technology.

When I was in junior high, I had a curiosity in creating new technologies and software. However, I had no mentor to teach or inspire me, therefore, it was difficult to explore this interest. It was not until high school where I had an excellent teacher who allowed me to fully realize my potential in information technology. As I volunteer in BDPA, I am fulfilled to be that mentor I wish I had when I was younger as I know I am allowing these students to see their future in information technology, just as my teacher has allowed me to see mine. While one example of someone who seeks to inspire underrepresented individuals can make a significant impact, it is an organization like BDPA who consists of like-minded members that, together, can change society.

Perhaps my most memorable experience was at the BDPA Disrupt 2017 Conference last summer. I had the opportunity to ask other members how they contribute to their community, and ask high school students about their college and career plans. These last two years have been a fulfilling experience, and I am excited to continue this experience throughout the future."

BDPA is blessed to have such a young and talented student as a winner of the Monsanto Scholarship. We look forward to supporting Basheer's career as he seeks to advance in the technology industry!

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