Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced its largest commitment to supporting students’ post-secondary science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education by awarding $10 million in college scholarships to 250 high school seniors from underserved and historically underrepresented communities. Each Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship recipient will receive $40,000 over four years to study computer science at a college of their choice starting this fall. Recipients will also receive a paid internship at Amazon after their freshman year of college to gain hands-on, practical work experience with mentorship from Amazon leaders. Amazon has more than doubled its scholarship commitment from last year by recognizing 250 computer science students from underserved communities. The program has awarded $22 million in scholarships to 550 students across the U.S. since 2019.
Recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, including their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, work experience, future goals, and financial need. Amazon partnered with Scholarship America to review the applications and select the 250 scholars. This year’s recipients come from more than 30 states and U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico and, for the first time, an American military base in Europe. More than 70% of scholarship recipients identify as Black, Latinx, and Native American (BLNA) and 50% identify as women, groups that are currently underrepresented in STEM.
“Each year, we are inspired by the talent, work ethic, and passion of our Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship recipients. We’re thrilled to expand our commitment to $10 million in scholarship funds to help 250 students from historically underrepresented and underserved communities pursue a computer science education,” said Victor Reinoso, Global Director of Amazon’s philanthropic education initiatives. “These opportunities are imperative to building a diverse tech industry and enriching our communities. These students have fulfilling careers ahead, and we look forward to seeing them at their Amazon internships and all they will achieve.”
Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the STEM field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statisticsforecasts that job opportunities for computer science workers will grow 13% between 2020 and 2030, yet only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, and only a small percentage of those come from underserved and historically underrepresented communities. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250 in May 2020, which is more than twice the median annual wage for all occupations.
Amazon Future Engineer, Amazon’s global philanthropic computer science education program, aims to bridge the divide between interested students and computer science courses and opportunities. The childhood-to-career education program helps students explore computer science through school curriculum and project-based learning, using code to make music, program robots, and solve problems, and offers teachers professional development opportunities. Amazon launched the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship program in 2019, awarding 100 students annually with $40,000 scholarships over four years to pursue an undergraduate degree in computer science, along with paid internships at Amazon.
“Without this scholarship, I likely would not be able to attend my dream school,” said Destiny Ogar, senior at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and a 2022 Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship recipient. “This scholarship will open doors for me and allow me to pursue a career in technology.”
Rising high school seniors can apply for the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship when the application opens in fall 2022. Requirements for the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship include: completion of an Advanced Placement computer science course in high school, intent to pursue a computer science degree at a four-year college or university, and a teacher recommendation.