The Royal Academy of Engineering and Amazon have announced the recipients of the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship Scheme. This year 31 scholarships were awarded, more than twice as many as in the previous year.
The awards, which provide a support package of up to £20,000, were awarded to students from low-income households progressing from A-Level, Scottish Higher Education or Technical Education courses to university education in the 2022/23 academic year.
We’re excited to expand the Amazon Future Engineer scholarship program to 31 amazing female students, and we hope they will achieve great things as our future innovators.
Technology Director at Amazon UK and Ambassador for Amazon Future Engineer.
The selected students demonstrated a passion and drive for computers and engineering and understood how innovation and creativity in this field can help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges. In addition to the monetary award, award winners will receive exclusive access to networking groups to meet positive role models from Amazon and the Royal Academy of Engineering, interact with peers, build long-term relationships and benefit from collaborative opportunities.
The Academy and Amazon share a goal of increasing diversity within the profession, and we will continue to seek talented individuals like these to ensure our community is more representative of the society it serves.
dr Rhys Morgan
Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering
The Amazon Future Engineer Scholarships aim to combat underrepresentation and accelerate progress – women are significantly underrepresented in engineering and technology fields in higher education. UCAS data on college applications and admissions for the 2021 cycle showed that women make up just 16% and 18% of accepted applications for computer science and engineering degrees, respectively. At the current rate of progress, equality for women in engineering courses will not be achieved before 2085.
“Having a diverse and representative workforce is absolutely essential if we are to continue to innovate and invent on behalf of all customers,” said Lauren Kisser, Amazon UK Technology Director and Amazon Future Engineer Ambassador. “We’re excited to expand the Amazon Future Engineer scholarship program to 31 amazing female students, and we hope they achieve great things as our future innovators.”
“The ideas presented by this year’s award winners in their applications illustrate the ingenuity and creative talent among women who are underrepresented in engineering,” said Dr. Rhys Morgan, Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering. “The Academy and Amazon share a common goal of increasing diversity within the profession, and we will continue to seek talented individuals like these to ensure our community is more representative of the society it serves.”
The Amazon Future Scholarship program is part of Amazon Future Engineer, our comprehensive childhood-through-career program to inspire, educate, and enable children and young adults from lower-income backgrounds to pursue computer science and related engineering courses. The scholarships are open to students enrolling in courses such as Computer Science, Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Software Engineering in the UK.
We spoke to five of the students who received the scholarship this year to learn more about what it means to be supported by Amazon Future Engineer.
Clare Hamilton, Queen’s University Belfast, professional experience in computer science
Clare is a freshman at Queen’s University Belfast studying Computer Science Professional Experience where she hopes to learn computer science fundamentals and practical skills during her third year industrial internship.
Her interest in technology was sparked by her mother, a former programming lecturer at Ulster University who homeschooled her from the ages of eight to seventeen, and encouraged by her college programming teacher.
“My teacher was a huge inspiration to me, she made learning fun, engaging and ultimately helped me build the confidence to study computer science at college level.”
Clare furthered her interest in technology through an internship in Citibank’s product management department and gained experience on the programming and software testing team. She is enthusiastic about the mentoring support offered through the scholarship program.
“It’s reassuring to know that I can talk to experts for career advice and that the scholarship opens up a whole network to me.”
Asiah Hussein, Computer Science, Birmingham City University
Asiah took her first steps into the programming world by developing her first video game at the age of 12 with a mysterious crime story.
“My brother is a software developer, so I really wanted to follow in his footsteps. I was working on the game, creating little bits here and there, but it wasn’t long before I was building my own PC and getting more involved.”
Asiah discovered the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship after researching STEM career paths online. She realized that the scholarship would drastically reduce the financial burden on the university.
“I was so lucky to find the scholarship – I only discovered it two weeks before the deadline so I had to write the application very quickly!”
Asiah loves to design and be creative. After graduating in Computer Science from Birmingham City University, she has big plans to combine her creative design skills to take on a front end role.
Hannah McCormick, Computer Science, University of Aberdeen
Hannah recently started studying computer science at the University of Aberdeen. She is excited to explore the different disciplines she could pursue as a career, although she has a particular interest in software development.
“I would like to work in cyber forensics or make aids for the disabled. I was a young caregiver, taking care of my parents and two siblings before going to university, so I saw how useful this work could be.”
Hannah was introduced to computer science by an IT teacher at school and a family member.
“I had a pretty cool IT teacher at school who taught us about cybersecurity, cryptographers and Alan Turing, the mathematician who broke the Enigma code in World War II with the bomb machine he built.”
She added, “That drew me into computer science and also spending time with my uncle, who taught me about robotics through remote control boats and cars we played with.”
Hannah applied for the Amazon Future Engineer scholarship program after a teacher shared a link with her after completing her exams.
“When I found out that I got the scholarship, it felt really good. It’s the first scholarship I’ve successfully applied for and we celebrated the results evening with a dinner. The networking opportunities that come with it will really help me in planning my career.”
She has thrown herself into her new degree and wants to continue her studies after graduation and get involved in university research.
Chloe Birkwood, Computer Science, University of Leicester
Growing up in Norwich, Chloe was the only girl in her high school class to study computer science, but her interest in technology began when she created her first game on Scratch.
“Creating something myself on the computer was a huge turning point for me, it sparked an interest that led me to study computer science in high school and learn Python, which I was fascinated by.”
She is now 18 and studying computer science at the University of Leicester. She enjoys the challenge of studying her favorite subject at a higher level.
“Every day I wake up feeling like I’m in the right place and learning something I love. It’s such an exciting field that’s evolving quickly, there are so many career opportunities and I look forward to being a part of it.”
Chloe aspires to a career in AI and becomes the role model for girls in STEM fields that she didn’t have in her early education.
“I want to work in AI someday and do something that helps the planet or people. I’d love to work in something like Neuralink, a technology that helps people with paralysis or other issues connect their brains to physical things like a robotic arm so they can control their movement.”
Chloe added, “I want to advocate for women in STEM as I’m the only girl studying computer science in my high school who didn’t have female role models, but with the scholarship I now have access to and can network groups with like-minded people build great connections!”
Lenka Senešiová, University of Aberdeen, Master of Engineering in Computer Science
Lenka grew up in Slovakia and at the age of 15 moved to the UK on a scholarship to attend Harrogate Ladies College in North Yorkshire.
At school, teachers encouraged her to pursue STEM subjects, which made her think about a different future.
“I often wish I could have started my education in the UK earlier. The all girls school I attended here showed me that there is so much more diversity in the types of education and careers that we as women can pursue. I also started thinking about my hobbies and found that I loved computers.”
Lenka is currently in her first year of a Masters of Engineering in Computer Science program at Aberdeen University. In the future, she wants to work as a race engineer, similar to Hannah Schmidt, Red Bull Racing’s chief strategist and one of the few female race engineers in the industry.
Receiving the scholarship has enabled Lenka to continue her studies in the UK and pursue her dreams.
“It is much more expensive to study here than in my home country. Before I received the news that I had been selected for the scholarship, I had concerns that I would not be able to continue my education here. Now I know I can focus on my studies and enjoy my university life without having to worry about the financial side of things.”
see the full list of recipients on the Royal Academy of Engineering website.