Amazon delivered a $40,000 college scholarship package last week to a surprised Lakota East High School student.
Hannah Nguyen had no idea what was headed her way when she walked into her computer science class. The Lakota East senior, who is enrolled to start at Ohio State University in the fall, suspected something was up when her teacher positioned Nguyen in front of a video camera.
All the better to register Nguyen’s surprise upon hearing the news she was one of the nation’s first winners of a $40,000 Amazon Future Engineer scholarship, which also comes with a paid summer internship with the global company after her freshman year.
Amazon officials said the new scholarship program recognized 100 high school seniors across America.
“I thought when I applied there was no chance I’d get this,” said Nguyen.
When the teacher surprised her with the good news, “I started crying and I left the room and I was calling my parents and calling everyone I know,” she said.
“We are confident that these scholarship recipients are our country’s next generation of world-changing inventors and leaders. They are an impressive, hard-working group, and we’re thrilled to call them our first class of Amazon Future Engineer scholarship winners,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO, Worldwide Consumer division for Amazon.
“This scholarship is a reflection of our appreciation for the work these students have done so far, and an investment in them and the future we all share. We are eager to see the bold paths paved by these students as college students, Amazon interns, and beyond.”
The scholarship provides $10,000 for each of four undergraduate years of study.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs.
The field remains male-dominated, though recent years have seen more high school girls participate in STEM classes as they moved on to post-secondary studies.
Nguyen is co-founder of a computer software development club – dubbed by students the Hack Club - at the Butler County high school and plans to major in computer science at Ohio State.
“What sets Hannah apart is her vision and her drive,” said Lakota East High School Principal Suzanna Davis.
“She will often times takes that part of being a female trail blazer very personally and being a role model for future generations … in a field where you don’t see a lot of women. This (scholarship) will open up so many opportunities for her to walk in her passion.”
Ultimately, Nguyen said her goal is to not just work in a computer science career, but to lead.
“I want to build my way up so that I’m managing. I definitely want to be building something that matters all across the world,” she said.