Recipients will gain technical skills to start or advance their open source careers
SAN FRANCISCO — June 30, 2021 — The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, has announced the recipients of the 2021 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarships. LiFT aims to increase diversity in open source technology by providing access to online and in-person training and certification exams for underserved demographics at no cost to the recipient. Since 2010, The Linux Foundation has awarded over 1,100 scholarships for millions of dollars worth of specialized, technical training to those who may not have the ability to afford this opportunity otherwise.
This year, The Linux Foundation awarded scholarships to 500 of the over 1,250 applicants who vied to be selected in one of ten categories.
This year’s selected pool of talent represents the potential for greatness in future participation in the open source community. Ages of recipients range from 13 to 68 with the average age being 30 years old. With the recipients also coming from 107 countries on six continents, the open source novices and seasoned tech professionals selected to receive this year’s scholarships serve as a reminder that interest in open source and technology generally crosses all demographics.
“We are excited to have our most diverse group of LiFT scholarship candidates ever,” said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin. “When the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year, we decided to vastly increase the number of scholarships to 500 to be awarded in order to help some of those affected. With the effects of the pandemic lingering, we realized it was essential to award 500 again this year rather than return to historic levels. The level of talent and potential evident amongst this year’s winners is staggering, and we are happy to be able to contribute to their future success.”
Highlighted scholarship recipients for 2021 in each category are:
Saba Kifle, 34, USA
Saba is a UN Delegate for the UN Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development and a part of the Women of Color in Blockchain Congressional Caucus. She is one of the few queer black woman working in the space and is very passionate about inspiring others in her community to get involved in blockchain. With this training, Saba – who speaks four languages – hopes to be better able to reach those who are more technically trained and may be interested in learning more about blockchain.
Santiago Figueroa-Lorenzo, 33, Spain
Santiago is a blockchain researcher at the University of Navarra who has run into difficulties performing efficient and immediate deployments of blockchain networks so that the proofs of concept to be performed are more immediate. He has accumulated experience working with technologies such as NodeJS, Web3JS, ReactJS, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Indy, and Hyperledger Besu. Santiago hopes that obtaining a Certified Hyperledger Fabric Administrator (CHFA) certification will reduce the learning curve, allowing him to focus on the research itself.
Badisa Mosesane, 29, Botswana
Badisa is a student at the University of Botswana where he studies computer science. He has been working with engineers developing automatic software deployments on High Performance Computing Linux clusters as an intern at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) in the USA, where he developed a platform for visualizing cluster performance metrics, built a cloud-based user support cognitive chatbot, and supports advanced cyberinfrastructure operations of this major supercomputing center.
Andrija Sagic, 44, Serbia
Andrija is a cultural heritage digitization professional who heads the Digital Development Department for the Milutin Bojic Library, where he is trying to find a sustainable solution for the need for small cultural institutions to present their digital content, namely storage and web access. He hopes the training he receives from this scholarship will help him to achieve that goal.
Danson Muia, 25, Kenya
Danson works to develop software tools that solve problems at a local level using open source solutions. One recent project he created is an online property management system for small landlords in Kenya. He has open sourced much of his code on GitHub, and hopes the knowledge he gains from this scholarship will enable him to create and share even better tools to benefit his community.
Pablo Velasquez, 32, Colombia
Pablo is a part of an organization in Medellin called Global Shapers, which strives to increase digital literacy and inclusion in the region. Projects he has worked on include an online system for arranging food donations and distribution to those in need, and setting up a local network to provide internet access to children. He plans to use the scholarship to study Node.js and use the open source technology to help even more people in his community.
Linux Kernel Gurus
Vandana Salve, 47, India
Vandana has years of experience working with the Linux kernel. From building Linux embedded systems for board support packages to developing device drivers and working on kernel security, she has contributed significantly to the community. She hopes to use this training to gain additional skills that will enable her to contribute even more to open source.
Alaa Emad Hossney, 31, Egypt
Alaa, who has a degree in embedded system engineering, participated in a Linux kernel mentorship in the spring of 2021, where she worked on fixing bugs in the kernel. She also was an Outreachy intern at Mozilla, where she worked on adding features on Firefox. She plans to use the knowledge she gains from this scholarship to pursue a career as a kernel developer, with a focus on embedded systems.
Nathalia Nascimento, 28, Brazil
Nathalia has been working with Linux servers since 2009. After finishing university with a degree in computer engineering, she wanted to deepen her knowledge about computer networks but found the high level of vendor lock-in frustrating. She began learning about Software Defined Networking (SDN) and for the past five years has been working to implement it. Nathalia hopes to gain more knowledge about SDN and open networking generally from this training, in order to implement fully open source network infrastructures.
Ashish Kashinath, 30, USA
Ashish is a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he works on SDN solutions for safety-critical networks. His work focuses on predictability in terms of latency and bandwidth guarantees for such networks, and has developed SDN applications using open networking tools like OpenFlow and OpenvSwitch. Ashish is excited to use this scholarship to learn more about Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and apply that knowledge to his research.
Open Source Newbies
Zivile Silveira, 37, Brazil
Zivile studied economics in school and has been a homemaker in recent years, but wants to transition careers with the goal of becoming a data engineer. She is fairly new to Linux and software development generally, but enjoyed learning about the command line and various applications of Linux in The Linux Foundation’s free Introduction to Linux course. Zivile hopes the knowledge she gains studying system administration with this scholarship will help her advance toward her career goals.
Tan Shaella Suhendro, 25, Indonesia
Shaella studied interior design at university, but has since become interested in STEM. Interior design and architecture software tools are typically proprietary, so she wanted to learn more about open source alternatives. She has been independently studying open source tools and programming languages including C, Python and R. One of the things Shaella did to learn more about open source is complete The Linux Foundation’s free Introduction to Linux course, where she enjoyed learning about the command line and tricks to use Linux more efficiently. She sees the training provided by this scholarship as the next step in her journey to learning more about technology.
SysAdmin Super Stars
Juan Luis Porras Loria, 31, Italy
Juan Luis is pursuing a masters degree in geophysics at the University of Pisa, where he has installed geophysical processing software on Linux environments. Originally from Costa Rica, he worked as a research assistant at the seismological observatory where he helped maintain and secure Linux servers, and deployed virtual machines to perform specific tasks and ensure connections between end-users and the Linux servers. Juan Luis would like to use this training to become a system administrator who helps the geosciences field to implement more open source software.
Zafer Balkan, 33, Turkey
Zafer is a graduate of the Turkish Military Academy and currently serves with the NATO Deployable Corps while pursuing a cybersecurity degree at Tallinn University. He has also worked in developer, security and sysadmin roles for both the Turkish military and NATO. Zafer hopes to use the knowledge gained from this scholarship to encourage the use of more open source tools in defense to reduce vendor lock-in and improve security.
Monil Vadodariya, 16, India
Monil is a straight-A student in high school who appreciates how important open source tools are for advancing new technologies like AI, machine learning, and blockchain. In his spare time he volunteers to teach younger kids about technology. Monil has participated in a number of hackathons, and helped develop software tools for his school including a proctored quiz system.
Mateo León, 17, Chile
Mateo is a senior in high school who wants to study software engineering. He has taught himself about a number of technologies including programming languages like Java, Python, and C++, and developed his own cryptocurrency forked from Bitcoin. He has contributed to open source cryptocurrency projects by serving as an English-Spanish translator. Mateo hopes to use the knowledge gained from this scholarship to be a more effective developer.
Web Development Wiz
Olufemi Benjamin Anjorin, 21, Nigeria
Olufemi is a physics student at the University of Lagos who works part time as a software engineer. He uses open source technologies daily for projects such as building an open source interactive voice response system for crowdsourcing real time reports during natural disasters and other crises in Nigeria. Olufemi hopes this scholarship will build his technical skills to grow as a software engineer, and help him develop innovative software and systems solutions to solve problems within his community.
George Gognadze, 26, Georgia
George is pursuing a masters degree in computer science who is passionate about open source. He built the first web application in Georgia to report bullying, and has been involved in numerous local technology events. He hopes to be able to share the knowledge he gains from this scholarship with others in his community, and begin contributing back to the broader open source community.
Women in Open Source
Fakhar un Nisa, 29, Pakistan
Fakhar is a trained veterinarian who is pursuing a PhD with a focus in cattle genomics. She is using Linux for analysis and interpretation of data around genotyping of different cattle breeds. Although she has little experience with Linux, Fakhar hopes that the training from this scholarship will make her more effective in her research, and believes strongly that the future of her field will be led by bioinformatics.
Dalal Mouani, 22, Morocco
Dalal, who speaks five languages, is currently pursuing a masters degree in data science. She eventually hopes to achieve a PhD in intelligent systems and to build intelligent applications. She has already built an OCR program for her university, and a web application for emotion detection. Dalal hopes this scholarship will give her skills she can use to improve her application development goals.
The full list of 2021 LiFT Scholarship recipients can be viewed here
Photographs of 2021 LiFT Scholarship recipients can be downloaded here
About the Linux Foundation
Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more. The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information, please visit us at linuxfoundation.org.
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