Brand Ambassador

Ratidzo Vushe: Highlighted Brand Ambassador of Summer

Why did you choose Smith College:

I chose Smith because I believed it was the best place I could succeed academically as a woman. I had read stories about Smith alumnae who were doing great work all across the world and I knew I wanted to do the same someday as well. 


Two years later and Smith has lived up to and surpassed all my expectations. We have so many brilliant students at Smith and there is a strong sense of community and sisterhood cultivated in the Smith system. Being a Smithie is both empowering and uplifting- every woman out there (and everyone really) deserves a college that makes them feel validated in this way.


So knowing what I knew about Smith beforehand, I did not have to think twice about accepting admission from (in my opinion) the best women’s college in the United States.


What are you studying and why?


I am majoring in Computer Science and I have an Economics minor. I chose Computer Science because I am really fascinated by technology and all the things we can achieve through it. I chose Economics because I am curious about how individuals and institutions make their decisions. I find the intersection of Computer Science and Economics to be very meaningful as Computer Science helps us create while Economics helps us understand who we create for. 

What do you hope to do after college?

While I am still exploring my career interests, I have developed a deep interest in front end development and I am hoping to pick up some graphic design skills this summer. I hope to become a Software Engineer or a Graphic Designer, and I am doing my best to work toward this.


Why do you align with ScholarJet?

I am a first generation student from Zimbabwe who does not have English as a first language. I only started essay writing in preparation for college since it was never integrated into my high school curriculum. So because of this, I have come to understand that I fall short compared to my peers who have had a headstart in essay writing. Student loans, however, affect all students alike, more so those without English as a first language, but most scholarships are not tailored to account for this.


We need to make it known that English really is not a measure of intelligence and rather than simply writing about the skills we have, I believe there is more value in actually proving this through innovative project-work. Everybody has something to offer and if a written essay isn’t one of those things, then that’s okay too because there exist platforms like ScholarJet that allow underrepresented students to win scholarships for showcasing their skills. And for this reason, I am really excited to be helping ScholarJet push forward their mission of helping students cover their loans and get hired.

Have you applied to any of the ScholarJet competitions?

Yes! I have applied to 4 (and others are still work in progress) I always make sure to apply to as many competitions as I can because I enjoy being the creative process and it’s cool to keep the submission after. I have participated in the Code your Resume competition by Akamai, Pitch-ure-Perfect School by Toast, Teach Me How To Dougie by Toast and Market your Favorite Start-up by GSV labs.


What advice do you have for other students wanting to apply or get involved with ScholarJet?

Do it! At first I was hesitant to apply because I thought, “Non-essay scholarships, this is too good to be true”, but then it was because I was so used to the idea of the scholarship application process being a painful one, with several sleepless nights, research papers and countless open tabs on my computer. Scholarjet made me realize that applying for scholarships doesn’t have to be such a tedious process, it can be fun and rewarding too. And the fun starts way before the prize, it starts with brainstorming and building up a submission. 


ScholarJet competitions are really fun to complete and through your submission, you show who you are so it is as authentic as it gets and unlike essays, these projects become part of your portfolio.


What do you do for fun?

I am involved with a lot of fun student organizations on campus. I am the Social Chair of the Smith College African and Carribean Students Association and I am also a part of the National Society of Black Engineers. During my spare time, I also teach middle school girls how to code through the Girls Who Code Foundation. Smithies in CS also always has fun activities such as hackathons and Game nights and I always make sure to attend.


What are your plans for the Summer?

I am a Software Developer Intern at FlashStarts, a start-up accelerator in Cleveland. I enjoy it because it is really hands-on and stimulating and I get to make a significant impact in early-stage companies.


Do you have any fun facts or hobbies to share?

Hobbies, I just learnt to ride a bike and I enjoy anything digital art and design related. 


Fun Fact:

I celebrated the wrong birthday for 20 years!

What’s your top study tip for students? 

One thing I do is breaking down my assignments into distinct sections according to topic or level of difficulty. I do this as soon as I am assigned a project or assignment and that way I get to schedule enough time for each task and I know when and where to get help for each section long before the deadline. This especially works for my coding assignments because those are really challenging to leave for the last minute (though I am very much guilty of doing this several times before).