Commentary & Perspectives

The Impact of the Kamala-AnitaB.org Scholarship

The Kamala-AnitaB.org Scholarship sends 25 underrepresented students to the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. Although this scholarship launched in 2016, we have already seen it making an impact on its recipients. We are eager to meet this year’s scholars, and to see how the Kamala-AnitaB.org Scholarship and GHC 17 shape their lives.

A New Opportunity

The Kamala-AnitaB.org Scholarship is funded by the Dhanam Foundation, an education-focused family foundation run by husband and wife Ram and Vijay Shriram. Ram, a career entrepreneur, created the online shopping service company, Junglee, which Amazon acquired in 1998. Ram soon left Amazon to become one of the founding board members and early investors in Google. Since then, he and Vijay have become global community leaders and philanthropists advancing educational opportunities worldwide. The scholarship is named in honor of Ram’s mother.

In 2016, we began the Kamala-AnitaB.org Scholarship program to promote diversity in STEM. The scholarships are awarded to African-American/Black and Hispanic/Latina students with U.S. citizenship who are studying technical computing fields. The scholarships provide funds for these students to attend GHC, where they are able to network, visit our Career Fair, and gain valuable resources to help them on their career paths.

Positive Results

Last year, we sent 13 African American/Black students and 12 Hispanic/Latina students to Houston for GHC 16. All of the scholars happened to come from different colleges and universities, including two historically Black academic institutions. Many of these scholars have since graduated and now have full-time jobs in the computing field. They credit GHC as a factor behind their success.

“Since going to GHC, I have been more confident in my abilities to network and put my best foot forward,” said one scholar. “Because of this, I signed up for many other technical networking events in my town, Philadelphia, and have since landed a job with Lockheed Martin. I am very proud of the decision I made and attribute much of my success to my decision to travel to Texas to network and represent my best self and women like myself.”

Some of our scholars are also reaching out to people in their own communities to provide them with the support they need to thrive in computing. “After GHC 16, I felt inspired to find a way to teach other kids to code,” explained another scholar. “This led me to create my own coding event which I hosted a local library, and because it was a great success I plan on continuing with the event.”

What’s Next?

To track the progress of our Kamala-AnitaB.org scholars, we are sending them surveys after GHC. These surveys inquire if the scholars graduated, if they stuck with their majors, if they are employed, and if they have a job in their field. We are excited to learn more about our scholars’ successes and achievements, and hope to gain valuable insight into the impact of this scholarship.

Want to learn who our 2017 Kamala-AnitaB.org scholars are? View all of our GHC 17 Scholars here.