Applications are currently open for the Google Europe Scholarship for Students with Disabilities 2015. This scholarship supports talented computer scientists with a disability across Europe by offering 7,000 Euros towards their studies for 2015-16. As part of this commitment, Google has teamed up with EmployAbility, an organization dedicated to assisting disabled and dyslexic students in the transition from education to employment.
We recently caught up with Michael, a student from Russia and 2014 recipient of the Google Scholarship for Students with Disabilities, to hear first-hand about his experience as a Google Scholar:
So Michael, tell us a little about yourself…
I am studying for an undergraduate degree in Information Engineering and Management at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. For me,Computer Science and its subdomain of Software Engineering are fields which offer an intellectual challenge and satisfaction through innovation and problem-solving. I enjoy analysing problems and then designing and implementing applications that solve these problems in the most efficient and elegant way.
Broadly speaking, I am interested in creating and developing new technologies that will improve human life in some tangible form.
What do you think of the application process?
The application process was very clear: you have to write several essays, upload your resume and find two referees who will write letters of recommendation for you. If you are an international student, then you will also need to translate your official documents into English before submitting them with your application.
If at any stage during the preparation of your application you have any queries or problems, don’t hesitate to contact the EmployAbility team, they can very quickly help you with any question and they can also give you valuable advice. They helped me several times with my application at the beginning.
In what way(s) has the Scholarship had an impact on your studies?
The scholarship, as recognition from Google and my university, was very important to me. It increased my confidence and encouraged me to continue what I am doing and to work even harder to achieve my goals.
During the course of my studies I wanted to attend some tech conferences. Now, after receiving this scholarship, not only will it be possible for me to attend these conferences, but I can also attend several others.
What tips would you give to someone when it comes to applying?
Start your application process with writing the answers to the essay questions. In writing your essays try to show who you really are, talk about your interests, contributions to open-source projects and commitment to computer science and technology. But don’t forget that the Google Scholarship will assess you as a whole person, therefore your leadership skills and achievements are also crucial for this application.
If you are not sure you understand particular questions or any other aspects of the application process, discuss your issues with EmployAbility – they can really help.
Other important pieces of the application package are your recommendation letters. Try to submit your application early and leave enough time for your references to write them for you. It is in your own best interest.
Besides the financial benefit, what else did you gain from the scholarship?
I am extremely grateful to Google for selecting me as a scholarship recipient. It really means a lot to me. This has given me more confidence and understanding of what I can achieve, and has motivated me to continue to work on my projects, make contributions to assistive technology and promote the value and importance of Computer Science among students with disabilities and also encourage them to consider careers in technology.
Did the scholarship influence your thoughts about a career at Google or within the Tech sector?
It certainly did. It made me feel more confident in my abilities and once again confirmed my plan to have a career in the tech industry. I hope to continue to develop my technical breadth and depth while taking on more responsibilities and leadership. By the time I graduate from my university, I’d like to either start a tech company or join a company such as Google, a company that has a disability inclusive and diverse environment made up of smart people who work on innovative products that change the world around us.
What advice would you give to someone who isn’t sure about applying for the scholarship?
If you are not sure whether you should apply or not try to write the answers to essay questions and prepare all the necessary documents. After that you can ask the EmployAbility team to look at your application and judge whether there is enough relevant content and what can be done to improve your application. Even if you are unsuccessful in your scholarship application, you can reapply next year. You have nothing to lose, but you could potentially gain a lot.
We are currently accepting applications for the 2015 Google Europe Scholarship for Students with Disabilities. Applications close on Thursday, January 1st, 2015, 17:00 GMT.
For questions about the scholarship or your application, please reach out to EmployAbility at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Efrat Aghassy, EMEA Scholarships Program Manager