Empowering Future Engineers

Vishal Goenka May 24, 2024 • 3 min read

Unlock the potential of every student, no matter where they come from.

Elizabeth Banuelos, a 17-year-old student from Allen Village High School in Kansas City, Missouri, exemplifies this mission. Her story highlights how learning computer science can help students excel in STEM fields.

Discovering Opportunities

Elizabeth learned about the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship from her computer science teacher, while enrolled in a class with 2Sigma School. The scholarship required applicants to be high school seniors with a GPA of 2.3 or higher and a background in computer science, engineering, or robotics. Despite being highly competitive, with the support of her 2Sigma teacher, she felt confident in her abilities and decided to apply. "What motivated me was the chance to do something in computer science," Elizabeth shared. "The scholarship was perfect because it could apply to any school, and I wasn't sure where I wanted to go."

The Path to Success

The comprehensive computer science course Elizabeth took during her junior year was pivotal. It equipped her with the necessary skills and knowledge, easing the application process. "Having that course under my belt meant I didn't need to take an additional assessment, which was a huge relief," she noted. 2Sigma School's remote teaching model, which became the norm during the pandemic, provided a seamless transition for Elizabeth. She appreciated the detailed, focused feedback that our online platform facilitated. "Coding requires a lot of attention to detail, and having a teacher who can monitor and assist remotely made a big difference," Elizabeth said.

Beyond the Classroom

Elizabeth's exploration didn't stop with her 2Sigma course. The skills she gained enabled her to participate in the Girls Who Code program, where she collaborated with peers and professionals at Electronic Arts. This experience further fueled her passion for computer science and engineering, leading her to pursue a major in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Missouri. Her involvement in extracurricular activities highlights the broader impact of STEM education. "The community at Girls Who Code was incredibly supportive and empowering, seeing so many women passionate about coding and STEM."

A Role Model for Many

Winning the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship was a game-changer for Elizabeth. It alleviated financial stress and allowed her to focus on her senior year and college preparations without the burden of student loans. Her success serves as an inspiration to her peers, showing that students from low-income, diverse communities can achieve great things. "Representing Allen Village and 2Sigma School, and knowing that I can be an example to my classmates, is very satisfying," Elizabeth said. She hopes her story will encourage other students, especially girls, to pursue STEM despite any challenges.

Creating a Welcoming Environment

Elizabeth's journey also underscores the importance of creating a supportive environment for women in STEM. She emphasizes the need for understanding and acceptance from male counterparts and the value of having female role models in the field. Her experience highlights the need for inclusive conversations about making the environment welcoming for everyone, regardless of their gender or background. It's a reminder that fostering such an environment is not just beneficial, but crucial for the success and growth of all students in STEM.

At 2Sigma School, we are proud to be part of Elizabeth's journey and look forward to empowering more students to reach for the stars.