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Adriana Beltran Andrade ’23

Scholarship Recipient

Why Smith?
The atmosphere at Smith was different. There was no culture of competition and stress. I wanted to go to a place where people did not gatekeep information or resources, but rather worked collaboratively and had ample opportunities to get involved. I wanted to work with my peers rather than in competition with them.

What has financial aid meant to you?
Financial aid gives me the freedom to spend my days making plans bigger than myself, understanding what I am passionate about and allowing me to focus my effort on making an impact where it’s important. It has allowed me to hone my skills and utilize resources such as technology, facilities and professional advising from faculty and staff.

What does being a Smithie mean to you?
Being a Smithie means being part of a community of strong women who support each other. Community is ingrained in the Smith College culture. And community doesn’t end here. I have had plenty of opportunities to meet awesome alums who come back and give talks or workshops, who give current students opportunities at their ventures or companies and who are willing to answer questions and guide you to resources in many fields.

“Financial aid gives me the freedom to spend my days making plans bigger than myself … allowing me to focus my effort on making an impact where it’s important.”

What’s a project you’re passionate about?
Precious Plastics is a worldwide organization whose goals are to recycle local plastic, educate the community and bring new life to what was seen as waste, creating a circular economy. The first group of Smith students on this project worked on the machine that shreds plastic into small pieces. My role is doing research, talking to our community partners and designing the next machine in the process. This is exciting because I get to use in a real-life setting the human-centered design principles I have learned.

What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?
I’m very proud of founding the Blockchain Initiative with my partner, Chichi Wu ’22. After attending a Conway Center panel about blockchain and social good, Chichi and I collaborated on a blockchain venture for the Draper Competition. We won an award and decided to introduce blockchain to Smithies more widely in a way that made them feel welcomed, not overwhelmed.

We designed a series of panels, with many professional women and POCs in the industry, that touched on the intersection of blockchain and four topics of interest to students: money, government, social good and finance. We also launched a club to allow for in-person, smaller conversations. And we partnered with the Black Students’ Alliance for their weekend conference on financial literacy, offering a workshop on the basics of blockchain and cryptocurrency. Our goals are creating an environment where everyone feels welcome to ask questions, no matter their tech level; offering hands-on opportunities to gain knowledge about the technology and its use; and finding opportunities to enter the industry professionally. This is very dear to my heart because I can see a future where Smithies are shaping the future of this technology.

Is there a faculty or staff member who has made an impact on you?
Jennifer Kennedy, administrative assistant at the Conway Center and the Design Thinking Initiative, stands out to me for her work ethic and leadership style. I learned a lot from her when she was my reporting boss at the Conway Center. She made sure to be clear, made me feel comfortable asking questions and gave me agency over my tasks, encouraging my ideas. Her compassionate and trustful leadership made me feel valued.

Why should donors support financial aid?
By supporting financial aid, donors give students the opportunity to explore themselves and their passions. That opportunity impacts every future step of their lives and empowers them to pass it along, just as someone did for them.

Contact Us

To make an endowed gift or to learn more about supporting financial aid at Smith, please contact Betsy Carpenter ’93, associate vice president for development, at 413-585-2052 or

About Adriana

Los Angeles, California

Computer Science, Statistical and Data Sciences

Founder, Blockchain Initiative

Intern, Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center

Network Security Teaching Assistant

Special Studies Member, Precious Plastics

Dean’s List

Service Track Tie Winner 2020, Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs

Best New Product Award 2020, Smith Elevator Pitch

Best Service Award 2020, Smith Shark Tank

Entrepreneurship Initiative Award 2020, Harold Grinspoon Foundation