Applications are now being accepted for the 2011 Destination z Enterprise Computing Scholarship
, which provides thousands of dollars in awards annually to encourage and enable students’ pursuit of mainframe-related IT careers.
Established in 2008, the scholarship program continues to grow in scope each year. In the program’s first year, six applicants vied for four scholarships. In 2010, 22 applicants competed for eight awards.
Likewise, the total dollar amount to be awarded this year will be nearly double that of 2010. “It’s a good trend,” notes Mike Todd, who oversees the scholarship fund for the IBM Academic Initiative System z. This year’s donors include Guide Share Europe, Trident Services, 21st Century Software, INNOVATION Data Processing and IBM.
The scholarship’s value to students goes beyond monetary assistance, explains Niranjan Sharma, a 2009 winner who currently works as a research assistant at Illinois State University, his alma mater.
“Besides the financial support it provides, being able to win this award states that your efforts and work in pursuing a mainframe education have been acknowledged,” he notes. “Involvement in such programs, like this scholarship or the Master the Mainframe
contest—helps students standout from the pool of job applicants. So, I would recommend they apply to demonstrate their interest on the mainframe field.”
To be considered, students must demonstrate excellence in their enterprise computing coursework, with plans for continued growth on the mainframe platform in their academic and professional careers. They must also attend a Destination z member school; a list of those schools is available at destinationz.org/Academia.aspx. Students are judged based on:
• Interest in the platform
• Proven enterprise computing aptitude through their coursework
• Intention to continue pursuing opportunities on the mainframe, either professionally or academically
A committee of IBM Academic Initiative members and representatives of the companies that contribute to the fund reviews each application and ranks the students, explains Todd. The judges' scores are then aggregated and averaged. Individual scholarship awards vary from year to year and student to student, but have been as much as $1,500.
The highest-scoring student will receive the Greg Zaubi Memorial Scholarship. Zaubi was a Marist College systems programmer who spent the latter part of his career connecting thousands of students and professors worldwide to System z, through the mainframe Knowledge Center hub he administered for years in partnership with the IBM Academic Initiative System z.
The deadline for applications has been extended to Dec. 7, 2011. Scholarship winners will be announced in December.