By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
This week, Amazon announced the 100 recipients of its inaugural Future Engineer scholarships, which supports college-bound seniors in underrepresented and underserved communities. Three students from Washington state earned scholarships, two of whom are Asian: Annie Vo from Franklin High School and Hyeong Jeong “Ace” Choi of Matt Grant Olympia High School. The third recipient is Parker Landsman of Orcas Island High School.
Winners of this scholarship receive access to computer science camps and classes as well as scholarships and internships at Amazon. A scholarship gives students $10,000 a year for four years to students pursuing a computer science degree.
Vo is graduating from Franklin this year and is set to attend the University of Pennsylvania.
She is executive treasurer for her school’s associated student body (ASB). Vo is also treasurer of the Asian Student Association and Key Club, and is a member of the National Honor Society. In addition, she plays tennis and is varsity co-captain.
Choi, originally from Seoul, moved to Olympia at age 9. She is also set to graduate this year and plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania. She is part of the organizing team for Olympia High School’s upcoming TEDx event on the Doppler effect, the goal of which is to talk about things often missed and talk about things from a different perspective, according to the team’s TED.com page. She first learned computer science last summer at a summer program.
“Having always loved problem-solving, I fell in love with it immediately as I wrote and debugged programs,” said Choi.
“The most decisive factor that really convinced me to pursue comp sci in college was the realization that comp sci could be applied to almost everything that we see today. Its real-world values showed to me the huge impact that I could make on our society as a computer scientist.”
“In the future, I plan on becoming a software engineer at a tech company and partaking in projects that involve working newly emerging technologies, like machine learning,” added Choi. “However, my long-term goal is to create an educational program through which students living in underdeveloped countries will have an opportunity to deepen their understanding of computers and technology in general. I would really love to provide disadvantaged students with more opportunities … I’m really excited to have become part of a program that strives to achieve very similar goals as mine.”
Amazon’s Future Engineer is a $50 million initiative aimed at increasing access and affordability to computer science education for students, from kindergarten through college.
Stacy can be reached at email@example.com.