Two University of New Orleans students have been selected to receive a Women in Computer Science Scholarship, which was created by alumna Sabrina Farmer, a vice president at Google.
This year’s recipients are Alaa Alshawi and Christina Scavo.
Alshawi is a junior majoring in computer science and serves on the executive board of the Association of Computing Machinery–Women Chapter. Last summer, she served as a technical intern at DXC.
Scavo is a junior majoring in computer science with a concentration in game development and minoring in studio art and math. She hopes to combine her passions for storytelling, art and tech into a career building immersive user experiences combining virtual reality and PC gaming.
Alshawi and Scavo say they want to use Farmer’s advice to help them find jobs in the tech industry upon graduation.
The award, which is administered by the UNO’s Women’s Center, covers in-state tuition for the academic year and comes with a mentorship from Farmer, who established the scholarship a year after she graduated from UNO in 1995 with a computer science degree.
“There were many times I questioned my abilities as a computer scientist while in school. The thought of changing paths occurred several times,” said Farmer, now the vice president of site reliability for many of Google’s billion-customer products including Gmail, Search, Google Maps, Android and Chrome.
“This scholarship was created to encourage women to stick with this career because while there are challenges, the rewards are tremendous.”
Farmer also oversees reliability of product infrastructure, including Google’s authentication, identity and abuse systems.
The scholarship also includes participation in the Grace Hopper Celebration, the largest conference celebrating women in tech.