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2016  LiFT Scholarship Winners

More than 850 entries were received in 2015 year across seven categories. The most popular submission category was the SysAdmin Super Star, demonstrating the lucrative career opportunities available in this area to those with proper training and certifications. This category was followed in popularity by Linux Newbies and Whiz Kids. Submissions were received from six continents, and applicants averaged 29 years of age, showing the prevalence of interest in Linux from across generations and geographies.

The scholarship award winners were:

Developer Do-Gooder

Luis Camacho Caballero, 42, Peru – Luis has been using Linux since 1998, and appreciates that it is built and maintained by a large number of individuals working together to increase knowledge. He has started a project to preserve endangered South American languages by porting them to computational systems through automatic speech recognition using Linux-based systems. He hopes to have the first language, Quechua, the language of his grandparents, completed by the end of 2017, and then plans to expand to other Amazonian languages.

Kurt Kremitzki, 28, United States – Kurt is in his final year of studying biological and agricultural engineering at Texas A&M. When visiting a Mayan community in the Yucatan this spring to help design irrigation systems, Kurt was inspired to take the project a step further: he realized that a system of Raspberry Pis with cell phone connectivity and open source software could create an automated irrigation system based on weather reports and sensor readings. He is now working with a local university in Mexico to develop such a system, which is just the first step in his dream of using technology to find new ways to meet the world’s growing food needs.

Kernel Guru

Alexander Popov, 28, Russia – Alexander is a Linux kernel developer who has had 14 patches accepted into the mainline kernel to date. With his employer, Positive Technologies, he has helped develop a bare metal hypervisor that they hope to open source soon. Alexander anticipates the training provided by this scholarship will help him to be an even more effective open source contributor in the future.

Ksenija Stanojevic, 29, Serbia – Ksenija first became acquainted with the kernel community after being accepted for an Outreachy internship. She quickly began submitting patches, specifically working on splitting an existing input/output driver to better support a multi-function device. She is looking forward to learning more about device drivers, and eventually writing her own drivers.

Linux Newbies

Yasin Sekabira, 27, Uganda – Yasin is a graduate of the computer science program at Makerere University, where he had a chance to do some work with Linux distributions, but taught himself the basics through the free Intro to Linux course on edX and other online resources. He is in the process of bootstrapping a startup to introduce technology to local children who do not have access to computer science education.

Lorien Smyer, 52, United States – Lorien is a former bookkeeper who decided she wanted to start a new career in computer science. She completed a six-month web development bootcamp, followed by Intro to Linux through edX, where she achieved a 100% grade. She hopes that the additional training provided by this scholarship will increase her chances of finding a job that will allow her to exercise her love of coding.

SysAdmin Superstar

Jacob Neyer, 20, United States (deployed with USAF in Europe) – Jacob is a cyberspace operations technician with the United States Air Force, where he administers Linux servers. He has encouraged his superiors to consider open source when looking to implement new applications, and hopes that receiving more advanced training through the LiFT scholarship will allow him to further develop his recommendations.

Sumilang Plucena, 33, Philippines – Sumilang is a systems analyst at the largest hospital in the Philippines, which runs Linux on all its servers. He is self-taught in open source and has helped deploy applications such as OpenMRS to track medical records. He hopes that with additional training provided by this scholarship, he will be able to make the hospital’s IT systems even more efficient, ultimately improving the care patients receive.

Teens-in-Training

Sarah Burney, 13, United States – Sarah is only in eighth grade at her middle school in Maryland, but has already completed a data science course at Johns Hopkins, as well as several coding programs. She is interested in use of Linux to support data science applications. Sarah believes this scholarship is an investment in her learning that she can return over time through contributions to Linux and open source.

Florian Vamosi, 15, Hungary – Florian is a grammar school student who has been using Linux since age 10. Along with a team from his school, he won the innovation competition in his town of Kaposvár for a modular agricultural automation system that monitors weather conditions and automatically compensates to suit the needs of a given plant using Raspberry Pis. He continues to innovate and is working on a color recognition system to categorize stars in astronomical research.

Academic Aces

Ahmed Alkabary, 23, Canada – Ahmed is a recent graduate of the University of Regina, where he earned degrees in computer science and mathematics. He began using Linux in the second year of his studies and quickly developed such a passion for it that he began extra studies outside of university to advance his skills. Ahmed’s enthusiasm for Linux even led him to develop a free course on Udemy to teach it to others; nearly 50,000 students have enrolled to date. Now that he has finished his studies, Ahmed hopes to secure a job as a Linux system administrator.

Tetevi Placide Ekon, 24, Burkina Faso – Tetevi is a graduate student studying civil engineering at the 2iE Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso. Since receiving his bachelor’s degree in water and environmental engineering and moving onto graduate school, he has nurtured a passion for computer science, and especially open source. Tetevi has completed free courses covering Linux, Apache Big Data systems and more, and plans to use this scholarship to pursue more advanced training.

Women in Linux

Shivani Bhardwaj, 22, India – Shivani is a recent computer science graduate who has already had more than 75 patches accepted to the staging driver of the Linux kernel. She completed an Outreachy internship, which impressed upon her the importance of guidance and mentorship as she pursues a career in open source. She hopes to use the knowledge gained from this scholarship to obtain a development job, and eventually to pass that knowledge along to other women who need mentors.

Farlonn Mutasa, 21, South Africa – Farlonn was introduced to Linux by an uncle and immediately became intrigued. She taught herself enough to pass the CompTIA Linux+ certification exam, which opened the door to an internship in South Africa. To pursue the internship, Farlonn left her family in her native Zimbabwe, but since the internship’s completion, she has found it difficult to find ongoing work in the local IT community. Farlonn hopes the training received from this scholarship will give her the skills to secure a stable career in open source.

2015  LiFT Scholarship Winners

More than 850 entries were received in 2015 year across seven categories. The most popular submission category was the SysAdmin Super Star, demonstrating the lucrative career opportunities available in this area to those with proper training and certifications. This category was followed in popularity by Linux Newbies and Whiz Kids. Submissions were received from six continents, and applicants averaged 29 years of age, showing the prevalence of interest in Linux from across generations and geographies.

The scholarship award winners were:

Developer Do-Gooder

Yashdeep Saini, 21, India – A graduate of NMIMS University Mumbai, Yashdeep has a particular interest in cybersecurity. He has recently started playing with ELF headers to understand the working of loaders and memory organization needed for Linux. His goal is to become a kernel developer, targeting the possible exploitation vectors and trying to find solutions to fight them.

Toby Jee, 37, Australia – Toby is a software developer at Innovit in Sydney, who currently contributes to Linux development with his own projects on GitHub and Bitbucket. He hopes that formal Linux training will enable him to contribute to Linux documentation, especially around Fedora One – his preferred distribution. He is also passionate about education and would like to teach children about open source by showing them how to use Raspberry Pi’s with Pidora.

Kernel Guru

Kiran Padwal, 27, India – Kiran is a software engineer at Smartplay Technologies in Pune. He has submitted basic patches to stabilize the kernel to check error for memory managed resource APIs to allocate memory, checkpatch warnings and device tree support for i2c devices and was part of da9055 codec device driver development. He hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the kernel through training so he can submit more and higher quality patches.

Vaishali Thakkar, 20, India – Vaishali is a Linux Kernel Intern through Outreachy, whose first contribution to the Linux kernel was running Coccinelle semantic patch over staging directory files. These days she is working on removing module init/exit boilerplate code with standard helper macros and has introduced some new helper macros herself. She hopes to eventually rise to the level of kernel maintainer.

Linux Newbies

Kevin Barry, 32, Ireland – Kevin holds a PhD in music and taught himself programming in his spare time. Inspired by a lecture given by Linux Foundation Fellow Greg Kroah-Hartman, he submitted his first patch for LilyPond. He has since completed the free Intro to Linux course with edX and put that knowledge to use by automating some of his work with shell scripts. He hopes to become a Linux SysAdmin to move his music department to open source.

Junko Ueda, 43, Japan – Junko completed the free Intro to Linux course with edX but also has some experience managing customer databases on Linux. She left the workforce to be a stay-at-home mom and now wants to become certified as a Linux SysAdmin as a way to break back in. She loves that there’s so many things to discover about Linux, that you can never be bored with it.

SysAdmin Superstar

Erich Noriega, 37, Canada – Born in Mexico, Erich recently moved to Canada with his partner. He previously worked on an electronic government initiative in Mexico, using Linux for running load balancers and DNS Roundrobbins. Since moving, he has been working on a prototype for an embedded PI hardware and pressure and temperature sensors for his partner’s family’s maple syrup plantation. He hopes formal training will enable him to build a career in his adopted country.

Enrique Sevillano, 42, United States – Enrique is the IT manager at White River Electric Association, where he has worked on everything from storage to filesystems to virtualization from Microsoft to Linux. He hopes that formal training through this scholarship will enable him to move onto more complex topics, such as penetration testing and cloud solutions.

Teens-in-Training

Eduardo Mayorga Téllez, 17, Nicaragua – Eduardo has been using Linux since he was 9 years old. He is starting an electronic engineering degree at the Nicaraguan National University of Engineering and hopes to use that to become a kernel developer focused on driver development. He has heard the argument that people don’t want to use Linux due to hardware compatibility and plans to be the person to change that.

RJ Murdok, 15, United States – RJ is getting ready to start his freshman year of high school. Despite being legally blind, he’s been learning Linux for three years and submits bug reports in his spare time. He recently built a computer for the first time and plans to install openSUSE on it. His goal is to work with Linux in robotics and perhaps also teach Linux at the university level one day.

Whiz Kids

Anthony Hooper, 23, Jamaica – Anthony originally took the safe route in Jamaica, studying hospitality management at university but his true passion is technology. He taught himself to use the command line and has never looked back. He hopes the knowledge he gains from this scholarship will enable him to get a job as a Linux SysAdmin, and then plans to share that knowledge by teaching Linux to children in his local community.

Kyri’ay Vanderpoel, 22, United States – Kyri’ay works as a helpdesk technician at Systeem Medical while studying computer science at the University of North Texas. His father introduced him to Arch Linux when he was 17, and he’s been learning more about it ever since. His goal is to work in secure development, penetration testing, cloud security, or database designs after graduation and thinks a formal Linux training course will help him achieve that.

Women in Linux

Nancy Iris Quiroga, 33, Argentina – Nancy is a biologist who taught herself Linux to use with statistical analysis, GIS and graphic design. She hopes to design open source applications for analyzing biological data, as most programs currently available are proprietary.

Eva Tanaskoska, 22, Macedonia – Eva is an information security researcher at Zero Science Lab in Skopje, which studying computer science and engineering at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University. She is in the process of forming a CERT team at her university, where she mentors students on using Linux to perform penetration tests, forensic investigations and incident response. Eva hopes to one day focus full time on kernel development and Linux security research.

2014 LiFT Scholarship Winners

More than 850 entries were received in 2015 year across seven categories. The most popular submission category was the SysAdmin Super Star, demonstrating the lucrative career opportunities available in this area to those with proper training and certifications. This category was followed in popularity by Linux Newbies and Whiz Kids. Submissions were received from six continents, and applicants averaged 29 years of age, showing the prevalence of interest in Linux from across generations and geographies.

The scholarship award winners were:

Sandeep Aryal, Nepal, SysAdmin Super Star

Sandeep is a systems administrator for the Nepalese government and has a baseline level of knowledge so far about Linux. Sandeep hopes to use the knowledge he gains through a Linux Foundation training course to encourage government offices in Nepal to move to open source software.

Eudris Cabrera, Dominican Republic, Developer Do-Gooder

Eudris is a software developer for the Dominican Ministry of Finance and teaches Linux at Open University. Eudris is also creating a small data center in a rural area to increase Internet access to 300 local students. He plans to share the information he learns from a Linux Foundation training course with his students to help open source adoption to expand in the Dominican Republic.

Alyson Calhoun, United States, Women in Linux

Alyson started her IT career as a Windows systems administrator but quickly transitioned to working on Linux. She was recently promoted to Linux engineer at her company and plans to use the knowledge from a Linux Foundation training course to encourage more women to pursue careers in IT.

Christoph Jaeger, Germany, Linux Kernel Guru

Christoph has been using Linux since college and as his knowledge and experience have grown, he has worked towards becoming an active member of the Linux community. He submitted his first patch one year ago, and the thrill of having it accepted has lead to several dozen more patches. He hopes a Linux Foundation training course will help him to contribute at an even higher level.

John Mwenda, Kenya, Whiz Kids

John is a fourth-year Computer Information Systems student at Kenya Methodist University. In his spare time he volunteers to teach Linux to children and has started a project to digitize the Kenyan constitution so it can be accessed easily and freely by everyone. He also runs a small startup offering Linux solutions and services to businesses and hopes by learning more in a Linux Foundation training course he will be able to help advance open source software adoption through his country.

2013 LiFT Scholarship Winners

New this year was the introduction of five categories to help solicit submissions from a diverse group of applicants. Nearly 700 submissions were received, and the average age of applicant was 25-years old. The most popular categories were SysAdmin Super Star, Whiz Kid and Developer Do-Gooder.

The 2013 winners and their respective categories are:

Andrew Dahl, United States, Linux Kernel Guru

A native of Minnesota, Dahl has already submitted bug fixes to the Linux kernel, including a small bug fix for the XFS_IOC_ZERO_RANGE IOCTL from which lines of code were used during the refactoring and removal of a larger set of wrapper functions in XFS. He will use the Linux training scholarship in his day job as a File System Engineer to work on NFS and XFS in the community.

“I think what gets me most excited (about Linux) is the footprint my contributions to the Linux kernel can have,” said Dahl. “The code I contribute will run on millions of computers around the world.”

Sarah Kiden, Uganda, Women in Linux

Kiden has been a Linux user since 2010. She learned Linux on the job when she was assigned a new role with the Systems team of her department and was asked to maintain systems running on Linux. Kiden will use the Linux training scholarship to improve her performance at work and be a role model for other women in her local community and the global Linux and open source communities.

“I’m sure many more women will be encouraged to participate in Linux forums and use open soft software if they meet someone else who has been successful in the field,” said Kiden

Abdelghani Ouchabane, Germany, SysAdmin Superstar

Ouchabane has extensive experience in Linux system administration and development and is a Linux Foundation member. He has more than 10 years of experience working on Linux systems at the Center for the Advanced Technology in Algeria, the Technical University of Berlin and today at eZono AG. Ouchabane says the Linux training scholarship will take his skills to an even more advanced level.

“I believe that Linux training (from The Linux Foundation) will let me learn from the right experts, so I will get the latest techniques and knowledge in Linux,” said Ouchabane.

Nam Pho, United States, Developer Do-Gooder

Inspired by the accomplishments of the human genome project, Pho pursued a science track in genomics in college, and Linux was a consistent presence. Today Pho works as a research and computing scientist on the Linux High Performance Computing (HPC) team at a medical research university where he uses and develops open source code for the Linux HPC environment. In recent years, budget for training opportunities in his workplace has been cut. Pho seeks the Linux training scholarship so that he may have an impact on the quality and stability of new and innovative scientific tools for Linux.

“I’ve been using Linux for a long time, and I’m both inspired and amazed at how much it has grown and matured over the years,” said Pho.

Nandaja Varma, India, Whiz Kid

A regular contributor to the Debian community, Varma’s primary area of interest is application development for Linux system administration. She says she will use her Linux training scholarship to build her career as a Linux systems administrator and to conduct mini-workshops to increase interest in Linux, especially among girls and women.

“I believe girls can be better programmers. Inspiring at least one human being is my dream,” said Varma.

2012 LiFT Scholarship Winners

More than 500 submissions were received during the second year of this program, which is more than double the number of submissions reviewed in 2011. The Linux Training Scholarship Program awarded five scholarships to computer science students and Linux developers or systems administrators.

The 2012 training scholarship award winners:

Adnan Akbar – Pakistan

Akbar is a doctoral student in the School of Engineering and Technology, Lahore. His Linux development work has largely been focused on embedded Linux, having worked on the Angstrom embedded Linux kernel and associated drivers. He says that to do this he studied different books on embedded Linux and listened to several online lectures but could not attend proper training because of a lack of such opportunities available in Pakistan.

Julio Guillen – El Salvador

Guillen is a 15-year Linux user who has worked as a Linux systems administrator. He says his country lacks trained people to develop applications for mobile devices and to implement and maintain cloud computing technologies. He hopes his Linux training can help provide the knowledge for him to start his own company to provide Linux-based services in El Salvador.

Julita Inca Chiroque – Peru

Inca served as an intern for the GNOME Outreach Program for Women in 2011 and today is a both a member of the GNOME Foundation as well as a Fedora Ambassador to Peru. She recently finished a Master’s in Computer Science and is working as a Linux Server Administrator using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0.  She says Linux training can help her prepare for a successful career as a Linux professional and to enable her to pass along knowledge to others.

George Mhlanga – Africa

Mhlanga is a computer programmer at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security at Lilongwe Agricultural Development Division in Malawi, Africa. Today he is managing web-based systems on Windows servers in 300 offices but says the servers are prone to viruses and that he wants to switch to Linux. He has requested Linux training from his management but management does not have the funds. He says he will use the Linux training scholarship to become “the next Linux expert” and to strengthen the role of Linux in his organization.

Alexander Samide – United States

Alexander Samide is studying computer science at Regis University but uses Linux in his day job as the base for building telecom equipment. He says he will use the Linux training scholarship to better implement embedded systems with increased security. He says he would like to reach a level of knowledge and experience to be able to provide more support to existing projects and to create new projects.

2011 LiFT Scholarship Winners

2011 was the first year of the LiFT scholarships which awards five scholarships to computer science students and Linux developers who show incredible promise for helping to shape the future of Linux but do not otherwise have the ability to attend Linux Foundation training courses.

The 2011 Linux Foundation Linux Training Scholarship winners were:

Karim Allah Ahmed – Egypt
A recent graduate of Mansoura University in Egypt, Ahmed has been using Linux as a development platform for three years and is currently writing a hypervisor for ARM.

“I believe that by taking Linux Foundation training classes, I can greatly increase my opportunities for securing a job as a Linux kernel software engineer,” said Karim Allah Ahmed.

Frank Maker – United States
A former embedded software intern at Broadcom and Google, Maker is a fourth-year PhD student at UC Davis in electrical and computer engineering/embedded software.

“I want to contribute to the community,” said Frank Maker. “Linux is going mobile in a big way, and I want to collaborate on making Linux the best OS in the mobile market. The embedded development training courses offered by The Linux Foundation will help me get there.”

Kenneth O’Brien – Ireland
After having his first Linux kernel patch accepted earlier this summer, O’Brien is hoping to learn more about Linux kernel internals and debugging. He will begin a PhD program at CASL, a research lab at University College Dublin, this fall in Simulation Science that focuses on high performance computing on *nix and energy optimization.

“The Linux Foundation’s Linux kernel internals courses will help further my work on energy optimization while allowing me to contribute towards Linux’s ongoing rise in popularity,” said Kenneth O’Brien.

Arpit Toshniwal – India
After spending his summers during college working on the Linux kernel (debugging, compiling), Toshniwal is about to finish his computer science and engineering degree at Indian Institute of Technology, Rajasthan.

“The knowledge I will gain from The Linux Foundation training courses will boost my interest on working on the kernel and help me improve my efficiency in the Linux kernel development process,” said Arpit Toshniwal.

Clarissa Womack – Australia
Womack is a first-year software engineering student at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia and is an active member of her local Linux User Group: HUMBUG (Home Unix Machine Brisbane Users Group). Womack’s development experience is in Python and Eclipse and she plans to use her scholarship to develop applications and to advocate for Linux and open source software.

“I want there to be a wider acknowledgement of Linux as a viable, free, open source operating system to rival Windows and Mac OS X,” said Clarissa Womack. “This is particularly special for me to be awarded this scholarship in the 20th year of Linux, as I turned 21 this year at the end of May.”