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the Liam's Life Foundation Scholarship

We’re excited to announce the start of a new scholarship program designed to provide learning opportunities for recipients to make the world a better and safer place for everyone.

In the case of this very special scholarship, we also have the opportunity to honor the great work of our partner, Liam’s Life Foundation. Last week, three students started studying in the Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program. Each of them is receiving a full scholarship to the program, in honor of Liam Mikael Kowal, a 15-month old toddler who was struck and killed by a drunk driver in Southern California in September 2016. Though drunk driving is preventable, a person loses their life to a drunk driving accident every 53 minutes. This amounts to 28 people a day and nearly 10,000 people a year in the United States alone.

Determined to prevent further drunk-driving tragedies, Liam’s parents Mishel Eder and Marcus Kowal started the foundation in their son’s honor. Liam’s Life promotes safe roads through raising awareness about the dangers of drunk driving, and supporting the growth of self-driving car technologies. The Foundation is committed to the belief that we can reduce drunk driving rates by creating a future where more vehicles drive autonomously. And this is where Udacity comes in.

Over 5,000 students from nearly 40 countries are enrolled in the Self-Driving Car Nanodegree program. With what they learn, each of them will contribute in some way towards making roads safer. Each of the Liam’s Life scholarship students knows the difference they can make with the skills they’re about to learn. Andrew Tran is one of the scholarship recipients. Currently a graduate student studying computer science in Southern California, Andrew is keen on using software to reduce traffic accidents while increasing mobility for people unable to drive. Says Andrew, “Self-driving cars have enormous potential to reduce vehicle-related injuries and deaths from distracted and drunk drivers. I’m excited to start this program and to ultimately design software that contributes towards safer roads.”

We are truly honored to partner with Liam’s Life. This is an extraordinarily valuable initiative. We encourage all of our students to spend a couple minutes to hear more of Liam’s story by watching this video.

Nick Blumenthal
Nick Blumenthal
Nick Blumenthal is a Scholarships Program Manager at Udacity. He's worked on using technology to democratize education since serving as a Peace Corps volunteer. Nick has spent most of his career in Cape Verde and Kenya, but is now in the US and excited to be exploring California and the rest of the west coast.