Albert Einstein once quoted, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” And at Udacity, we have seen enough examples of resilient students who have gone above and beyond their challenges to transform their lives, and sometimes the industry or community as a whole.
To support our learners in this journey, we have undertaken various initiatives in the form of Udacity Scholarships.
The world faces various challenges today. Lack of equitable opportunities, financial exclusion, lack of diversity at work, exclusion from education, systematic racism are just some of them. And to help overcome some of these challenges, our scholarship programs create a level playing field for anyone who wants to learn and grow through upskilling themselves.
Our graduates come from all walks of life and many have compelling stories about how they lifted themselves into better professional circumstances after taking our Nanodegree programs.
Whether it is the students from our Pledge to Equality scholarship program ready to take on new roles in the technology industry or single moms like Typhaney Bennett turning a new leaf in a new career or students like Ryan Waite who keep coming back to Udacity and now feel more like family, Udacity’s scholarship students have chartered unfathomable pathways for themselves.
Here’s a look at some of our recent scholarship graduates and where they are today.
Arpita Jha from India Transforms Her Life By Getting A Dream Internship at Microsoft
Bertelsmann Tech Scholarship | Cloud Developer using Microsoft Azure Nanodegree program
Arpita belongs to a small community called Maithili in India. “Growing up, my father could barely make enough to send me and my siblings to school. When I expressed my wish to pursue higher education, my father said he can’t afford my education further. Fortunately, my brother stepped up, took a loan for my studies, and lent me his nine-year-old laptop. He told me that he believed in me and I should never let any opportunity slip away,” she said.
Arpita studied hard and was a topper in her college. She won the Smart India Hackathon in 2019. “But my major breakthrough came when I received this scholarship. And due to the skills that I acquired, I got an internship offer from Microsoft!
“Being from a tier-3 college from India, I could never imagine being a part of an organization like Microsoft,” said Arpita.
“The community has been a boon for me. From not knowing anything about cloud to organizing events for enthusiasts like me, it’s all because of the support that I received from the Bertelsmann Cloud track community,” she added.
Arpita also used her knowledge to compete in the Microsoft Fixathon and secured the second runner-up trophy. “I want to continue sharing the knowledge I have gained here with people in other communities that I’m a part of. I am also developing some robust websites and deploying Azure in it.”
Mariia Denysenko from Germany Attains New Heights in Cybersecurity
Nutanix Hybrid Cloud Engineer Scholarship | Hybrid Cloud Engineer Nanodegree Program
“Working in cybersecurity consulting requires one to keep themself updated on the latest technology trends. And though many companies have already moved to the cloud, not all of them did it right,” said Maria.
She also points out that many companies face challenges with regulatory restrictions that do not allow them to move into the cloud with all their data.
“A hybrid cloud is an option in such scenarios. For this reason, I wanted to learn more about how Nutanix approaches the security aspect of the hybrid cloud infrastructure and learn more about their solutions,” she said.
“I was able to learn theory as well as gain hands-on experience when doing labs and exercises. I appreciate that Nutanix and Udacity provided access to the Nutanix environment. This scholarship offered technical as well as soft skills and has definitely helped me professionally.”
Yomi Olalude from Nigeria Writes a New Story for Himself During COVID-19
Bertelsmann Tech Scholarship | AI Product Manager Nanodegree program
Yomi is a recent graduate in Industrial Engineering and Management from University of Dundee in Scotland. “From a young child in Nigeria climbing bookshelves to change faulty light bulbs to a preteen unsuccessfully attempting to create a toy electric car, I have always had an aptitude for machines and how they worked,” said Yomi.
While many misconstrued Yomi’s constant quest for finding easier methods as laziness, his father recognized his innate knack for providing solutions, dubbing him “The Engineer” and steering him in that direction.
“My childhood hero book was not rife with Marvel characters alone, I had the likes of Michael Faraday and Albert Einstein as role models. However, I grew up in an environment that conditioned me to think that AI was an otherworldly fantasy crafted by idealists who envision an impossible utopia.”
“I never thought I would someday be holding the spanners and twisting in the nuts to create my own ML model that solves a practical problem. This scholarship made that possible.”
After his masters, Yomi acquired a job with a Fortune 500 Oil and Gas company. But he couldn’t start because of COVID-19. “Most engineering jobs didn’t want a 29-year-old for an entry position, so I turned to the industry that had been beckoning to me for many years – tech,” he said.
“I applied for this scholarship because I have always been interested in ML and AI and its application in business, engineering, and other industries, and I want to be a trailblazer in my country.
“I’m currently looking to [complete] a Ph.D. in Applications of ML Techniques in Manufacturing [that will unify] my experience in AI and Engineering. I intend to keep researching, creating models, and training other aspiring students around me as I climb the ladder of AI one rung at a time.”
These are just some of the stories. In 2020, we helped more than 60,000 aspiring students globally through various scholarship programs. Out of these students, around 4,000 have been offered a full scholarship to our Nanodegree programs. Each of these students will not only graduate with a Nanodegree certificate but with real-world skills that will make them ready for a job.
Of course our scholarship partners like Google, Bertelsmann, AWS, Microsoft Azure, Intel, Nutanix, the Blacks In Technology Foundation and many othershave played an important role in making this happen.
If you are looking for an opportunity to upskill yourself then stay tuned for any upcoming opportunities on the Udacity Scholarships page.