Marlborough student wins major scholarship for Women in STEM

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By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer

Kaya Dorogi
Photo/submitted

MarlboroughRising to the top of a dozen high-caliber candidates, Marlborough resident Kaya Dorogi was recently announced as the first-ever recipient of the Mary Székely Scholarship for Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The $10,000 scholarship is awarded by Progress, a well-known leader in the application development and digital experience technologies field, and is renewable annually for four years in honor of Mary Székely, a founder and lead software engineer at Progress for over 30 years. 

According to Katie Kulikoski, chief people officer at Progress, only 28 percent of STEM positions are held by women. 

“We are trying to make an impact and fill the funnel of available talent by reaching young women at an earlier age,” she said. “Our best attempt to rebalance the number of women in tech fields is by supporting females earlier in their life cycle, promoting STEM to girls in grade school and middle school. With this scholarship, we hope that our recipient, Kaya, will be a role model and mentor for others.”

Dorogi recently graduated from the Bancroft School in Worcester, where she captained the Alpine Skiing Team, Girls’ Tennis Team, and the Math Team, and was inducted into the Cum Laude Society. As a sophomore, she and another student, Lucy Hao, started a chapter of Future Business Leaders of America. Outside of school, she enjoyed working with Congressman Jim McGovern on his Youth Congressional Cabinet, and participated in the Yale Young Global Scholars program, focusing on social entrepreneurship and sustainable development. 

Kulikoski mentioned the similarities between Dorogi and Székely, noting that Székely liked to mentor.

“They both were also the first employee hired at a tech start-up while still in high school,” she added. 

Dorogi worked as an intern for a company called Battlecard, a sales software platform, in New York since the summer after her sophomore year, continuing to work remotely for them during school breaks. 

Dorogi’s interest in women in STEM fields inspired her senior project. 

“Over the course of my senior year, I interviewed and photographed several female professors in STEM positions. It is called the ‘Women in Academia Project,’ and I dedicated it to Mary Székely and my grandmother, who was in STEM,” she explained.

This summer, Dorogi is looking forward to remotely taking part in the Google Computer Science Summer Institute.  

“I am talking about doing some features/live code-alongs with Progress on their Twitch channel this summer about what I am learning and coding at Google,” she explained.

Dorogi has chosen to attend Columbia University’s School of Engineering in New York in the fall, majoring in computer science. 

“I am not sure what the fall will look like; we are waiting to hear if everything will be remote learning or not,” she said. “What’s great is that Columbia has an enclosed campus, but you can step off into the city life of New York, and I am drawn to that. 

“I am just so grateful for this opportunity from Progress and am so impressed that Mary was a founder and it’s now an international company,” Dorogi said. “I am honored to carry on her legacy, the most meaningful part of this whole thing.”