Amazon’s Future Engineer Bursary has awarded Durham University Computer Science student Samantha Obiston £20,000. The bursary is part of a national programme that has given over £1 million to women studying STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
Laura Kisser, Ambassador for the Amazon Future Engineer programme said: “The tech industry struggles with a lack of diversity compounding the digital skills gap and ultimately constraining our ability to innovate and drive growth.
“Through Amazon Future Engineer, we want to break down the barriers to opportunity that so many young people face to help diversify our next generation of tech talent. I’m delighted that we support our bursary recipients on their journey to become our innovators of the future, and I hope they will inspire even more young women to apply next year.”
UCAS data from 2020 shows that women represent 16% of accepted applicants to computing degrees and 18% to engineering degrees.
The bursaries go to promising students from low-income households, and the programme, in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, provides support beyond funding. Samantha will also have access to networking groups and meet experts from Amazon.
She said that the bursary “offers me the opportunity to network and work towards a career in computer science,” noting that “you never know I may become an academic and this bursary will have been part of enabling me to do that.”
Samantha told Amazon, “Computer Science didn’t exist when I was in school.”
“Back then we studied IT, and I hated it. It wasn’t until I taught myself to code that a whole new world opened up to me — I fell in love with it.”
“The funding has enabled me to do so much. I no longer have to scrimp and save, and I get to experience university life fully.”
With a competitive application process, Samantha was one of just 30 students to receive the award this year.