Future Leaders in Technology Scholarship - College Award

Funded by
Virtasant Inc.
Learn more about the Donor
$2,500
1 winner every 6 months
Awarded
Winner
1
Finalists
4
Next Application Deadline
May 31, 2021
Next Winners Announced
Jul 16, 2021
Education Level
Undergraduate

Right now, Black and Latinx people only make up around 5% - 8% of the tech workforce. Women account for a mere 1 in every four tech jobs. For Native Americans and Indigenous groups, employment numbers are even lower, at around 1% at leading tech companies. These numbers reflect an improvement over the last few years, but this is not nearly enough.

The tech industry sets out to serve a remarkably diverse world. To accomplish this, the industry itself has to reflect that world. At Virtasant, we understand the need to embrace fresh perspectives, probe unexamined problems, and tap into unique ideas. We want to support the innovative minds that represent the groups and communities that are still getting left behind in tech.

To achieve this mission, we created the Future Leaders in Technology scholarship for students from these communities, who are pursuing careers in tech.

The scholarship includes a $2,500 award to one college or university junior or senior student who will also receive an internship opportunity with Virtasant.

The scholarship is open to college and university students pursuing a degree in computer science, electrical engineering or data science. You must also be a member of an underrepresented group, including: Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, American Indian or Native American, LGBTQA+, and Women.

STEM
Selection Criteria:
Passion, Impact, Drive
$2,500
1 winner every 6 months
Awarded
Winner
1
Finalists
4
Next Application Deadline
May 31, 2021
Next Winners Announced
Jul 16, 2021
Education Level
Undergraduate
Recent Bold.org scholarship winners
Essay Topic

What area of tech are you interested in studying and why? Tell us about a problem that you hope to solve by way of your future education and career in tech.

400–600 words

Winning Application

Dee Oliveira
Worcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcester, MA
Eight million metric tons. That’s how much plastic is dumped into our oceans every year. That’s equivalent to 57,000 blue whales or 17.6 billion pounds. Fast fashion, microplastics, and the growing trend of hyperconsumption in our society are killing our oceans at a rapid pace. We are destroying the ecosystems of species yet to be discovered. The climate crisis is being ignored, but the effects of what we are doing to our oceans will soon be felt when our sources of nutrition become contaminated by microplastics, our beaches become dumping grounds, and our drinking water becomes toxic. Using my Computer Science and Robotic Engineering degrees, I want to facilitate the design and production of biomimetic AUV’s (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) to help clean up our oceans and begin reversing the effects of hyperconsumption. Biomimicry has become an increasingly popular addition to the world of Robotics, and I genuinely believe it is the key to saving our oceans. The robots could have the following abilities… Trash collection: The robots will launch a sequence for trash collection. The bot would launch a net and begin a lawnmower sequence that has the bot move in horizontally to collect trash. Once the bags fill, the AUVs will tie off the net and bring them to a pre-programmed location to be disposed of properly. Microplastics Collection: In a similar approach to the trash collection process, we can also have the robots collect microplastics. The AUVs will have filters that entrap microplastics within the bot and can be emptied once the filter is full. Deadzone Detection: Due to pollution excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus are causing a surplus of algae in our oceans. When Algae die their decomposition sucks up the oxygen in the water leaving very little for the other organisms causing them to die. The robots would detect the levels of nitrogen and phosphorus and –if the levels are elevated– remove the algae, therefore stopping the creation of another dead zone. Video: Due to the biomimicry, we’d have the ability to use these AUVs for other research, such as data collection. The AUVs would be equipped with video cameras to monitor the ocean from a remote location. GPS: The robots will need to be equipped with GPS to keep track of it. The robot will use GPS to help with maintenance. If there’s an issue, the robot will be able to find its way back to its launch point or a new point written into its system. GPS can be used to track species of other animals and the currents of our oceans to see where pollution is coming from. AUV/ROV mode: The robot would be able to switch between an AUV mode and an ROV mode. This will allow for the robot to complete tasks for research, clean-up, and tracking on its own, and also be able to be redirected and controlled by a scientist if research needs change. I’ve always had a passion for computer science (specifically AI) and Robotics, and I believe that my idea can help save our oceans. While obtaining my degree I plan to conduct research and work on writing the code and the design features needed to bring my idea to life. I want to make a change in the world, and I know using Computer Science and Robotics is the way to do it.
Kaylin Moss
Marist CollegePoughkeepsie, NY

FAQ

When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 31, 2021. Winners will be announced on Jul 16, 2021.

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