As soon as Andrea (Andi) Motas, a computer science major at George Mason University, heard about the Break Through Tech peer leadership program, she wanted to join. Meeting other students, faculty, and making a contribution were the key factors that drew her in, she says.
“I can relate to the younger students, and I know what they’re going through,” Motas says. “I want them to feel supported and that they have a place to go.”
She says the main role of a Break Through Tech peer leader is to help support students—especially females and those from underrepresented communities—-- pursuing computer science, engineering, and information technology degrees at Mason. Peer leaders are available to answer questions, meet, or simply talk.
“It’s important to have Break Through Tech in place because a lot of students can feel a lack of support, especially freshman getting adjusted to college life or minorities who may not see anyone that looks like them in any of their classes,” Motas says. “But they can come to Break Through Tech for that support whether they want someone to talk to, or help with a resume.”
She says being a peer leader is a natural fit for her because she’s done similar duties before with other student organizations. Motas brings plenty of experience to the table with hosting events, being able to connect with others, and giving advice.
“A lot of it, for students, is just how to get started in the right direction,” she says. “Freshmen will be curious about what internships are out there, and what classes to take. I like to share my own experiences with them of what worked for me and what didn’t, and the things that helped me to succeed.”
Motas is currently a senior, and is set to graduate December 2021. After graduating, she plans to start work as a software engineer at Oracle and eventually pursue a master’s degree in data science or machine learning.
She’s always enjoyed anything to do with computers and is keenly interested in how technology works behind the scenes.
“As long as you have the resources and an internet connection, you can build whatever you want and go wherever you want with it,” she says.
Motas was awarded the Washington Apple Pi Endowed scholarship and was recognized for her work with PatriotHacks in 2018 (awarded best data analytics hack) and HackViolet in 2021 (awarded best hack for female empowerment and best web app.)
The Break Through Tech peer leadership program provides support to all Mason College of Engineering and Computing students. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Visit Break Through Tech at Mason for more information.