According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer science-related jobs available, but there will only be 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills needed to apply for those jobs. Furthermore, although computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree in school — with only a small percentage of those students from underserved backgrounds. To discover the untapped talent among today’s high school and college students, scholarship opportunities are needed to provide the encouragement and the financial means for more students to pursue careers in computer science.
With the goal of inspiring and educating children and young adults to try computer science, especially students from underserved and underrepresented communities, Amazon has founded a program called Amazon Future Engineer, which is part of Amazon’s $50 million investment in STEM and computer science over the next five years. Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part, childhood-to-career program that funds programs ranging from after-school coding classes for kids in grades K-8, to robotics programs and Intro and Advanced Placement (AP) computer science courses for high school students.
One of the highlights of the program is the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship, which awards 100 high school seniors from underserved communities scholarships of $40,000 over four years to study computer science at a four-year college or university of their choice. The scholarship award also includes an offer for a guaranteed, paid internship with Amazon, after students complete their first year of college, to gain valuable work experience. It is one of the only computer science programs to offer both a scholarship and guaranteed internship placement to students.
Previous scholarship winner and current Ohio University student Hannah Nguyen said, “Being selected for the Amazon Future Engineer program is incredibly empowering, especially with women being so underrepresented in the field. I’m so excited for my future in computer science and I’m looking forward to the amazing opportunity to apply my knowledge while gaining real-world experience at this summer internship.”
What are the scholarship requirements?
- Completion of an AP computer science class in high school
- Intent to pursue a computer science degree at a four-year college or university
- Teacher recommendation
Other factors considered include the applicant’s academic performance, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, work experience, a statement of career and educational goals, and financial need.
Amazon’s inaugural class of scholarship winners was announced in April 2019 and includes 100 students from 32 states. All of the recipients demonstrated financial need and more than half of the students awarded the scholarships were from underrepresented groups in the computer science field, such as women, first-generation immigrants and people of color. These 100 students are currently attending some of the top universities and computer science programs in the country.
Another scholarship winner from the class of 2019, Jailynn Primus, used her award to enroll at Howard University. “To me the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship means an investment in my future and the opening of doors that I thought were previously closed to me,” she explained. “Being a double minority in STEM by being both African American and female, this empowers me to stay focused on the future I would like to create for both myself and society.”
To read more about previous scholarship winners, visit blog.aboutamazon.com/community/how-raising-her-hand-in-robotics-club-led-to-an-amazon-scholarship.
Applications for this year’s Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship will be accepted through January 17, 2020 for current high school seniors. Interested students can apply at AmazonFutureEngineer.com.