Four Dallas ISD Students Receive Amazon Scholarships

Education, Featured

Award recipients and DISD staff | Image by Dallas ISD

Four high school seniors from Dallas Independent School District (DISD) were awarded Amazon scholarships in early April. According to the Dallas ISD press release, each student will receive $40,000 in an Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship, spread out over four years as they pursue computer science degrees. Scholarship recipients will also be offered a year-long paid internship at Amazon upon graduation.

The four students were invited as ambassadors in a celebratory, computer science-focused visit to Everette L. DeGolyer Elementary School, where they were surprised with the scholarship awards. Texas Senator Nathan Johnson joined representatives from Dallas ISD and Amazon to surprise the students.

The recipients were: Brenda Campuzano from Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, Axel Livias from Skyline High School, Angie Landin from Townview Center’s School for the Talented and Gifted, and Ephraim Sun from Townview’s School of Science and Engineering.

The Dallas students were four out of 250 Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship recipients from around the country this year. Recipients can use the funds to pursue a computer science-related degree from any university they wish.

According to Senator Johnson, these awards open a new pathway that might not have otherwise been available for those students.

“Dallas ISD’s partnership with Amazon Future Engineer inspires kids and makes it possible for them to pursue rewarding STEM careers,” Senator Johnson stated. “Many of these kids might not otherwise have seen that path as being open to them. As demand for STEM fields continues to outpace supply, that path is certainly open. I’m proud of these scholarship recipients, and look forward to them helping us — equipped as they will be with educations in STEM subjects but also in the arts and social sciences — answer new questions and rise to new challenges brought by an increasingly technology-based future.”

Also present as the awards were disbursed were representatives of BootUp PD (Professional Development). BootUp is a non-profit organization that helps districts implement coding and computer science classes in their elementary schools by providing training and resources to their teachers.

The event’s guests also celebrated Dallas ISD’s two-year-long partnership with Amazon and BootUp. The collaboration has allowed the district to offer computer science instruction for around 30,000 students across seventy-four elementary schools.

Jeff Marx, the Dallas ISD director of Computer Science and Technology, noted that developing computer science skills in elementary school opens up opportunities later in life.

“Exposure to computer science in elementary school creates a pipeline of students interested in pursuing similar secondary school and college pathways,” Marx said.

During the celebration, guests witnessed a showcase of elementary school students displaying their computer science skills in a BootUp session. A kindergartener named Arlo West won the Dallas ISD 2022 STEM Expo Coding Competition, “Virtually Making a Difference,” for his project focused on saving the polar bears.

“It’s critical that we increase opportunity for all students to pursue computer science and STEM education,” Victor Reinoso, the global director of Amazon’s philanthropic education initiatives, stated in the press release. “Young people are the engineers of the future, with the possibility to build a better world for themselves and for us all.”

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