ALAMEDA, Calif. (KTVU) - Five Bay Area students are being rewarded for their hard work with some much needed financial help so they can pursue their dreams of jobs in the tech industry.
A video shows the moment Alameda High School senior Ashley Chu was surprised with an Amazon scholarship. The day marked the start of a new journey.
“I was really surprised when I opened it and read it because I had no idea what was going on. I was kind of speechless,” said Chu.
Chu is one of 100 students, nationwide, to receive first ever Amazon Future Engineer's scholarship. Her computer science teacher, Mr. Yong Joo, had the honor of presenting this $40,000 scholarship to her, which includes a paid internship with Amazon.
“Nothing has come easy for her. She's had to work for everything but the fact that she strives for these really high things and she actually manages to reach them is super inspiring,” said Joo.
The 17-year-old coding enthusiast started a robotics club at school and is involved in several programs like Girls Who Code. She says being one of the few girls in STEM classes was motivation.
“I've actually started an organization to teach others girls how to code so we can help decrease that demystification of the stereotypes that are in STEM fields and increase the diversity that we have,” said Chu.
Her accomplishments and background is what made her the perfect candidate for the amazon scholarship.
“We really are focusing on young women, focusing on underrepresented minority students, making sure they have a seat at the table, making sure that they can pursue these dreams,” said Amazon Spokesperson Allison Flicker.
Now she's heading to UC Berkeley to pursue Electrical engineering and computer science.
“I’m extremely excited. I’m already thinking about clubs to join and which dorm I’m looking at,” said Chu.
Chu is wrapping up her spring break. She just returned from Disneyland with her family. And you could say she was conducting research for future endeavors.
When asked what her dream job is, she said, “I have a lot of different areas I want to dabble in but I think I want to be an ‘imagineer’ for Walt Disney when I grow up. It's been my dream job for a while. Hopefully I'll achieve that goal one day.”
The four other Bay area recipients are from Oakland Tech, Acalanes high in Lafayette, Tamalpais High in Mill Valley and Convent of the Sacred Heart high school in San Francisco.
If any other students would like to apply for the Amazon scholarship, applications will be accepted starting in November of 2019.