LiFT Scholarship Winners: Teens and Academic Aces Learn Open Source Skills


Four people have been named recipients of the seventh annual Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarships for 2017 in the “Academic Aces” and “Teens in Training” categories.

Teens in Training

Vinícius Almeida

Vinícius Almeida, 15, of Brazil, is the youngest recipient to receive an award from the foundation this year. Although he is a high school freshman, Almeida is already taking computer science courses at the Federal University of Bahia. He has written several articles on robotics and open source technologies, and is active in his local hackerspace, the Raul Hacker Club.

Almeida also volunteers to write browser extensions for the GNU Project. Almeida says he hopes the knowledge he gains from this scholarship will help him convince more individuals in Brazil to adopt open source.

“I can’t imagine my life without FOSS technologies!’’ he wrote in his application. “I love using Linux every day, and learning more about open source has already changed my opinion in lots of discussions.” Almeida added that he is further developing his programming skills every day, thanks to the open source community. “My future is FOSS technologies; today I’m using most of them, but soon I want to develop them [for] the community.”

Sydney Dykstra

Sydney Dykstra, 18, of the United States, is the second scholarship recipient in the Teens in Training category. A recent high school graduate, Dykstra has been contributing to several open source projects, including the games The Secret Chronicles of Dr. M., and Supertux. His goal is to become a Linux systems administrator, and he hopes the scholarship will jumpstart that.

“I believe that open source is the future for everything computer related, online and offline, and necessary… if we are to have a ‘free’ world where we are not worried about someone else watching us or taking advantage of our info,’’ he wrote in his scholarship application.

Dykstra says he wants to become a Linux systems administrator, not only because he enjoys working with Linux systems but because of the freedom and flexibility it provides him. “I’m only a beginner,” he wrote, “but have been using Linux for nearly five years now and have been learning more as I go.”

Academic Aces

Asirifi Charles

Asirifi Charles, 22, of Ghana, is a recipient in the Academic Aces category. He is in his final year studying computer science at the University of Ghana. Charles taught himself about web development through free online resources, and recently became interested in open source, completing the free Intro to Linux course on edX. He hopes this scholarship will help him expand his open source expertise, so he can share it with others in Ghana, where it is difficult to access an IT education. 

“Open source lets you share your contribution while learning to better your skills,’’ he wrote in his application.

Camilo Andres Cortes Hernandez

Camilo Andres Cortes Hernandez, 31, of Colombia, is the other scholarship winner in the Academic Aces category. Hernandez studies technology at EAN University in Colombia, where he also runs a nonprofit that teaches individuals about cloud computing. His focus is currently on Azure, and he hopes the scholarship will help him to obtain the MCSA: Linux on Azure certification from The Linux Foundation and Microsoft.

Not only will the scholarship improve his career, he wrote, but it will also help others to embrace open source solutions because of his work in the community. Recently, Hernandez says, he was discussing open source solutions on Azure during a free cloud event, and received good feedback.

“I want to keep teaching others about cloud and top trending technologies, especially open source solutions that can run on environments like Azure. I have a goal within my community (CloudFirst Campus) to teach people about the interoperability of solutions no matter if they are private or open — you can run anything on the cloud.” 

The Linux Foundation Training Scholarships cover the expenses for one class to be chosen by each recipient from the Scholarship Track choices, representing thousands of dollars in value (travel expenses for in-person classes are not included). 

Winners in all categories may also elect to take a Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator, Linux Foundation Certified Engineer, Certified OpenStack Administrator, Cloud Foundry Certified Developer or Certified Kubernetes Administrator exam at no cost following the completion of their training course.

Scholarships are supported by The Linux Foundation members seeking to help train the developers and IT professionals of the future.

Learn more about the LiFT Scholarship program from The Linux Foundation.