A student from Newton Aycliffe have been named as one of the 2023 recipients of the national Amazon Future Engineer Bursary, making her one of 30 women in the UK to receive the bursary this year.
Newtonian Samantha Obiston – who’s at Durham University studying Computer Science with Foundation – has been awarded £20,000 by Amazon to support her studies.
The Amazon Future Engineer Bursary provides a financial support package of up to £20,000 to students from low-income households to help address the underrepresentation of women studying computer science and engineering at UK universities.
Samantha was awarded the bursary by demonstrating a passion for innovation and driving change through technology.
She has been awarded the grant to support university-related expenses, including accommodation and living costs, or to contribute towards tuition fees.
Samantha, along with the other awardees, will also receive a package of wraparound support to increase their professional and networking capital.
Since the Amazon Future Engineer Bursary launched in 2021 in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, Amazon has awarded over £1m-worth of funding and currently supports 75 women studying STEM-related degrees at UK universities.
For Sam, the journey to higher education hasn’t been easy.
“I struggled through school as I had many problems with bullying,” she explained.
“I ended up getting excluded in my final year of studying for my GCSEs, so I had to teach myself the content and take the exams alone within just five months.”
But it wasn’t until years later, after undergoing major surgery during the pandemic, that she discovered her passion for computers.
“Computer Science didn’t exist when I was in school,” Sam said.
“Back then we studied IT, and I hated it. It wasn’t until I taught myself to code that a whole new world opened up to me — I fell in love with it.”
Sam is now exploring this new world as she studies Computer Science at Durham University, supported by the Amazon Future Engineer Bursary.