Romford student receives Amazon bursary for women studying computer science

Riddhi Patel

King's College London student Riddhi Patel received the Amazon Future Engineer bursary - Credit: Riddhi Patel/ Clearbox

A university student from Romford has received a bursary which supports women from low-income households to study computer science and engineering. 

Computer science student Riddhi Patel was awarded the Amazon Future Engineer bursary after her first year of university. 

Riddhi, who is in her second year at King’s College London, said she was always passionate about technology. 

She explained: “I used to watch BBC Click with my dad when I was 10 years old, and I always loved the mystery of what I was seeing.  

“From then on, I kept up an interest, reading about the latest trends like machine learning, and eventually that led me to choose to study computer science at university.”  

The Royal Academy of Engineering worked with Amazon to launch the Amazon Future Engineer bursary scheme, offering 12 awards worth £5,000 a year for up to four years. 

It aims to challenge women’s underrepresentation in engineering and technology at British universities. 

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Riddhi said the bursary allowed her to focus more of her energy on studying, contributing to group projects and teaching coding to first year students. 

“It really came at the right time too, as due to the pandemic my dad could no longer work and this was causing me stress as I felt pressure to work more,” she added. 

In 2020, women represented just 16 per cent of accepted applications in computing and 18pc in engineering degrees, according to application website UCAS. 

Chief executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Dr Hayaatun Sillem, said it would take 74 years at the current rate of progress to achieve equal numbers of men and women in these degrees. 

She explained: “The academy and Amazon share an ambition to inspire and support young people to become the next generation of engineers, and I welcome the opportunity to work together in encouraging more women and girls from all backgrounds to take up careers in engineering and computing. 

“We need a greater diversity of views and experiences working within these professions if we are to come up with effective solutions to the many challenges that society faces.” 

Amazon UK country manager John Boumphrey added: “Our new bursary scheme with the Royal Academy of Engineering will help more women become the innovation leaders of the UK. 

“More needs to be done to encourage women to enter these fields and break down barriers that students face.” 

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