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National alliance supports rising STEM talent

Jacob Sindorf (left), a doctoral student in the systems engineering program, Kai-Ra De La Fuente (middle), a second-year engineering student concentrating in robotics and Nicole Van Handel (right), a Fall 2022 graduate of the mechanical engineering systems accelerated master’s degree program, are the three inaugural recipients of ITServe Alliance’s new scholarship at the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. Image created by Rhonda Hitchcock-Mast/ASU and Erika Gronek/ASU

Giving back to local communities is a top priority for nationwide information technology consortium ITServe Alliance. The group’s Phoenix chapter recently launched a scholarship to support students studying manufacturing subjects in The School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks and The Polytechnic School, two of the seven schools in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University.

Founded in 2010, ITServe Alliance is a consortium of about 1,800 members — mainly U.S.-based IT service and software product development companies. Together, member companies employ 123,780 Americans.

The group’s main objective is providing a community of support to their large IT-centered membership base through networking, employment opportunities, political action, project collaborations and more is the group’s main objective. ITServe Alliance members believe the IT community can better advance the industry by combining their resources.

In addition to providing various benefits to its members, service to the community is an integral part of the organization’s mission. Members can amplify their philanthropic pursuits by uniting their efforts. The launch of this new scholarship is just one example of how hundreds of members unify in support of a cause.

“The consortium was built on the idea that immigrants have a responsibility to give back,” says Ankit Shah, ITServe Alliance’s Phoenix chapter president. “We are the beneficiaries of the opportunities we received when we came to this country and now it’s time to do our part.”

Putting that mantra into action takes shape by empowering local employment and communities in need.

“Helping our students attain their educational goals so they can one day make an impact in the manufacturing industry is what keeps us motivated to teach. ITServe Alliance shares that vision by giving back to the community and offers our students the resources they need to thrive in the future,” says Binil Starly, professor and director of the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks.

The ITServe Alliance Scholarship

Kai-Ra De La Fuente, a second-year engineering student concentrating in robotics, is one of the three inaugural recipients of the ITServe Alliance Scholarship. Her interests in building devices and problem-solving led her to the hands-on robotics program at The Polytechnic School.

Kai-Ra De La Fuente receiving an oversized check

Kai-Ra De La Fuente (right), accepts a $4,750 ITServe Alliance Scholarship from Phoenix Chapter President Ankit Shah (left) and Chapter Advisor Vijay Kommineni (middle) to support her education in robotics and autonomous systems at ASU. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Williams

“I knew it was the right program for me,” De La Fuente says.

She says the scholarship will not only support her academic endeavors, but it will also “open the doors to a powerful future full of new opportunities to engage with innovative people inside and outside of my field.”

De La Fuente and ITServe Alliance’s missions are aligned — she plans to use her degree to help others.

Systems engineering doctoral student Jacob Sindorf is the second beneficiary of the ITServe Alliance Scholarship.

“Every day, students such as myself face a multitude of stressors both inside and outside of the university. The ITServe Alliance Scholarship immediately impacts my education and even professional career as it alleviates the financial stress of being a full-time student,” Sindorf says. “With that, I can delve further into my research and continue my journey with more focus and determination than I was previously able to do.”

Nicole Van Handel, a Fall 2022 graduate of the mechanical engineering systems accelerated master’s degree program says the scholarship enabled her to complete her master’s degree at ASU without incurring any debt.

“Following my bachelor’s degree, I was unsure if I would even return for my master’s degree, as the cost was prohibitive,” Van Handel says.

During her master’s degree education, she was given the opportunity to continue her research in laser powder bed fusion under Associate Professor Dhruv Bhate. She also received second place for her work in this area at the International Conference on Additive Manufacturing.

Van Handel looks forward to continuing her research endeavors in a doctoral program. She intends to work in the U.S. aerospace and manufacturing industries and believes the ITServe Alliance Scholarship helped set her up for success.

ITServe Alliance Phoenix chapter President Shah says that supporting students like Van Handel, Sindorf and De La Fuente in their engineering pursuits is a significant goal for the organization.

“There are many statistics that show that talented individuals drop their education because they can’t afford it, so we want to eliminate that hurdle,” Shah says. “That’s what motivated us to launch this scholarship, so the right people who have the right capabilities can get a helping hand.”

Learn more or give to the ITServe Alliance Scholarship today.

About The Author

Sona Srinarayana

Sona Srinarayana joined the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering marketing and communications team in February 2020 and is based at The Polytechnic School. She brings with her, a decade of communications experience in various industries, including higher education. She earned her B.A. degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and is an Arizona native.

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