Published on 06/11/2023
CodeBrave student Jana gets full scholarship to AUB in Computer Engineering!
A Brighter Future
Jana joined CodeBrave when she was starting her final year of high school. She’s from a town near Lebanon’s southern border. She went to the local public school, part of a state system that is collapsing with the strain of the economic crisis. To give you a sense of the crisis, in Jana’s 12th Grade, her school was only open for a couple of months. The prospect of her potential going to waste was heartbreaking.
Jana is exceptionally bright and was desperate to go to university, a chance her parents didn’t get. Jana’s dad left school at 15 years old. Her mom only worked one year as a nurse before stopping to care for her family.
“My dad works in auto repairs – he only made it to 9th Grade. My mum didn’t continue her studies because she married young and left work. They wanted us to build a brighter future and pursue higher education”.
The reality she faced though was far from bright. An economic crisis, an outdated school curriculum and teacher strikes all marred her high school years.
So Jana took matters into her own hands. She found out about the CodeBrave scholarship program for exceptionally motivated and bright students who lack other opportunities. She’d never had the chance to learn coding before. “I didn’t know how to code. But I knew that it was the future and that we should learn it.” So she applied. She aced our aptitude test and was accepted.
The scholarship also helped build Jana’s confidence. “I was very shy before. But when the sessions started, I made friends so I had a lot of fun too. The tutor would encourage me to speak and participate.”
Jana also acquired soft skills. “To code, you need to learn problem-solving, critical thinking and teamwork.”
Hear it from Jana!
Jana’s dream was to go to the American University of Beirut (AUB). Considered Lebanon’s top university, with world class professors and an extraordinary campus looking over the Mediterranean Sea, its annual fees are stratospheric and far out of the reach of most of the population, 82% of people now live under the poverty line.
“But the only way I could attend AUB, my dream university, was to be among the top 5 students in High School in the country.”
Because of the teacher strikes for 75% of the year, Jana spent her last year at school studying by herself and doing 9 hours of CodeBrave study per week (3 hours of class-time plus 6 hours of independent work.)
“I did it!”
Jana ranked 3rd in Lebanon in General Sciences and received a full scholarship to AUB.
“I felt that if I wanted something, I’ll have to make it happen. The results shocked everyone, even me! No one in my family has gone to a good university. So when I got my scholarship, I felt like I achieved something!”
With her scholarship in hand, Jana now just had to choose her major. “After the CodeBrave scholarship, I knew that coding is my passion so I wanted to study Computer Engineering. CodeBrave helped me figure out what I wanted to do in life. My future is now based on this.”
“The scholarship also played an important role in my personal growth and skillset during the transition between school and university. When I started university, the first coding class I had was Python so you can imagine how easy it was for me. I see the impact of everything I learned”, she told us.
Recently, Jana impressed her classmates with a website she built during our programme. “First, I felt shy and ever since, they think that I’m a bit of a star because I can code a website. Then, I felt proud of myself.”
Building Real Work Experience
As part of the CodeBrave scholarship, she was also linked with real work experience. She’s redesigning the website for a career coach in the US.
“I’m learning so many things! First, we’re dealing with a client from a different background. We’re paying attention to details and learning time management. When I finish this internship, it’ll be great for my resume.”
From an underserved shy young girl to a confident student, Jana is shaping her own future. She has made her dream come true. Jana’s journey is not just about her personal transformation. It’s a testament to the power of determination and equal educational opportunities.
Visit our Get Involved page for more details of how to support students like Jana.
Check out one of Jana’s projects here.
NB: This blog, like all our blogs, has been published with the final review and consent of the student in question.