When Tsion Tessema ‘22 opened the box she received in the mail, she expected to see her prom dress. But the words “Congratulations!” and Amazon swag told her otherwise - she was surprised (and as she said, “elated”) to discover she was named an Amazon Future Engineer.
Tessema is one of 250 recipients of the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship, a $40,000 college scholarship and a paid summer internship at Amazon following the students’ freshman years. She is the only D.C. student named to the scholarship program, and plans to attend Tufts in the fall to study computer science.
“Technology is developing at an exponential rate. I want to use technology to better the world and work with others to do that,” said Tessema.
STEM has interested Tessema for years, but after math teacher Bob Aronstam recommended her to a STEM program the summer after her junior year, she got serious about computer science. While it is a male-dominated field, Tessema has a role model in her mother, who earned her Associate’s degree in computer science after Tessema began talking about the field at home. (“I would say I was interested in it first,” she noted with a smile.)
But really, “[My mom] being passionate about learning something that wasn’t as big back then, entering a new field now, it was really inspiring and made me reconsider any doubts that I had,” said Tessema. “...She is just as passionate about it as I am,” she added, giving Mom a shout-out.
Tessema is sure that her experiences at Visitation in a female-only STEM environment will help her achieve her goals. “I feel like I’ve learned to not silence myself and to be confident in those spaces where I may be the only woman or the only black woman,” said Tessema. “Visi has given me the confidence to value my voice and what I bring to the table with the experiences I’ve had.”