2018 represents a record number of scholarships for training and certification awarded to help promising open source contributors
SAN FRANCISCO and EDINBURGH — OPEN SOURCE SUMMIT EUROPE — October 22, 2018 — The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, has announced the recipients of the 2018 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarships. LiFT aims to increase diversity in open source technology by providing access to online and in-person training and certification exams for underserved demographics at no cost to the recipient. Since 2010, The Linux Foundation has awarded 106 scholarships worth over $220,000 providing specialized, technical training to those who may not have the ability to afford this opportunity otherwise.
This year, The Linux Foundation awarded scholarships to 31 of the more than 900 applicants who vied to be selected in one of the nine categories offered. Two applicants were selected to receive a scholarship in each category with the exception of ‘Open Source Newbies’, in which 15 applicants were selected.
This year’s selected pool of talent represents the potential for greatness in future participation in the open source community. Ages of recipients range from 17 to 53 with the average age being 26 years old. With the recipients also coming from 21 countries, the open source novices and seasoned tech professionals selected to receive this year’s scholarships serve as a reminder that interest in open source and technology generally crosses all demographics.
“With the LiFT scholarship program, we strive to select a cohort of individuals that represent the future of software development and those who will utilize this opportunity to give back to not only the broader open source community, but also their local communities,” said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin. “Scholarship programs such as LiFT showcase the unlimited opportunities a single person can unlock for themselves and other aspiring developers when given access to do so.”
The scholarship recipients for 2018 in each category are:
Trevor Sibanda, 21, Zimbabwe
Trevor is an employee at Golix, one of Africa’s leading active cryptocurrency exchanges, who enjoys contributing to open source projects. He plans to use his scholarship to enhance his skills and understanding of blockchain. In doing this, Trevor hopes to have a positive influence on Africa’s vision for blockchain and would like to contribute to a mainstream blockchain project in the near future.
Udah Vaghvani, 23, India
Udah is using blockchain technology to remove third-party verification authorities. In doing this, Udah wants to make multi-source verifications available under one network so all data is verified by the users — eliminating the need for further authentication. He has already created a skeleton of the application that will be used in this process, and with the LiFT scholarship Udah wants to advance his skill sets and move forward with completing this process.
Monica Limachi, 34, Bolivia
Monica is a freelance software engineer in Bolivia with three years of experience working in Linux. She feels it is important to democratize technology, but one must first learn about the technology first. With this scholarship, Monica wants to become a cloud specialist and plans to volunteer as a teacher exposing others to open source.
Paul Wechuli, 25, Kenya
Paul works at a research institute in Kenya developing end-to-end IoT systems. He has a degree in Telecommunications Engineering, but due to his interests shifting toward software development, he taught himself about web application development and cloud administration. He has had substantial exposure to open source software including, but not limited to, Node, Docker, Kubernetes and React. Paul plans to use his training and certification to aid in his goal of developing applications that will benefit people and businesses.
Rachael Nelson, 37, United States
Rachael graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Texas Tech University. She has a love for sharing, freedom and technology. While her goal was to major in computer science or electrical engineering, Rachael decided to take on a less demanding major so she could stay home and take care of her sick mother. Over the course of her career, Rachael has worked her way up from QA to network analyst. With this scholarship, Rachael wants to leverage open source technologies to help people in her community making it more affordable and adding protection to their freedoms and interests.
Oscar Villamizar, 38, Venezuela
Oscar is a student studying systems engineering at PSM Santiago Mariño. He has taken courses covering object-oriented programming, Domino, C/C++, Java and PHP. Oscar has developed a small application with the purpose of facilitating the calculation of poultry farm expenses. With this scholarship, Oscar plans to stay in Venezuela to develop technologies that can reach those who need it to encourage equity and accessibility.
Linux Kernel Gurus
Anna-Lena Marx, 23, Germany
Anna-Lena is a student working for a German company developing kernel drivers and fixing bugs in the Linux kernel and Android internal system. Her ultimate goal is to become a contributor to the mainline kernel and hopes to do so with the next few years.
Eric Curtin, 28, Ireland
To date, Eric has contributed to the Linux kernel twice and has particular interests in IPsec and Wireguard. Currently, he writes user space code. While he has been involved in several open source projects, Eric is specifically interested in kernel space code and getting more Irish contributors into the kernel community.
Feruzjon Muyassarov, 24, Finland
Feruzjon graduated from Tashkent University of Information Technology. He is currently in his second year of school attaining a master’s degree in sustainable technologies from the University de Lorraine and LUT. He continuously searches for courses that are dedicated to teaching SDN, OpenStack, virtualization technologies, networking and programming. Feruzjon believes the open source community is one of the best environments where all the experts can come together and share experience, discuss issues, help with deploying major and minor technologies as well as developing and advancing existing ones.
Maloto Nyirenda, 37, Malawi
Maloto is a network manager for Malawi Telecommunications Limited. He has a solid foundation in Linux systems through obtaining a certificate in Linux Administration, but believes he needs to further his training in order to sharpen his capabilities within his career field. With this scholarship, Maloto plans to explore new Linux technologies and deploy them so users in Malawi can enjoy the maximum amount of services offered.
Open Source Newbies
Andrii Skrypchenko, 31, Ukraine
Andrii is a graduate of Kyiv Politechnical Institute with a background in applied system analysis. He has no prior experience developing software, but has a strong desire to work with industries adopting open source globally.
Pujan Mehta, 20, India
Pujan is a student pursuing a full-time Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering with interests in Competitive Coding, Open Source Development and Computer Vision. He was selected as an Open Source Software Developer at DJ Unicode where he develops applications to ease the life of students. Pujan was responsible for developing the back-end of their application. Upon completion of his LiFT training and certification, Pujan aims to train other individuals interested in open source and motivate them to pursue advanced training. Additionally, he plans to complete an internship in security and will use the stipend he receives to cover the costs for the training and certifications of other people interested in open source training.
Mohammad Hizz, 27, Jordan
Mohammad is an electrical engineer and Syrian refugee in Jordan currently taking online courses to receive his master’s degree. He has faced discrimination when seeking an education, but did not let that deter him from obtaining one. Mohammad has had experience with Fedora, Debian, Kali and more. Through completing his training and certification, Mohammad hopes to potentially gain employment working with Linux at the center of an IT enterprise.
Amith P, 18, India
Amith is a student in India working toward his bachelor’s of engineering with a focus on electronics and communication. He appreciates complementary open source softwares as opposed to more costly softwares. Amith plans to become a contributor to open source through utilizing the training and certification provided by the LiFT scholarship.
Ariel Isidro, 53, Philippines
Ariel teaches introductory operating systems and systems administration courses to computer engineering students. He wants to use this scholarship to further his knowledge about open source so he can provide valuable lessons to his students. In doing this, he is hoping more of his students will pursue open source systems as a career path.
Shumon Chattopadhyay, 28, United States
Shumon has a Bachelors of Science and a Master’s of Science in chemical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. He began taking introductory computer science classes once he developed an interest in programming. Shumon wants to use the LiFT scholarship to become a system administrator and developer, providing him with the foundation to gain exposure in open source software development.
Izabela Bakollari, 24, Albania
Izabela is a web designer with a desire to become a system administrator. She has a degree in information and communication technology with a focus on algorithms, computer architecture and object oriented programming from the University of Tirana. She also taught herself how to install technologies like Nextcloud, Collabora and Gitlab on her computer. Ultimately, Izabela aims to learn more about Linux distributions and have more local meetings to exchange knowledge with the open source community.
Khamidulla Ziyoe, 24, United States
Khamidulla recently moved to the United States and has begun studying Linux administration courses. Khamidulla plans to use his law degree and Linux education to generate startup projects that combine IT and law.
Thaigarajan Retanam, 33, Malayasia
Thaigarajan began his pursuit as an IT professional while in high school. Upon graduating, he went on to receive his Bachelor’s degree in software engineering. He recognizes the flexibility of open source software and feels there is no limit to what one can do with it. Thaigarajan will use the LiFT training course and certification to immerse himself in the Linux environment. He feels learning about Linux is the best way to progress in his career and resources similar to the LiFT scholarships are not readily available in his workplace.
Jumanne L. Adam, 30, Tanzania
Jumanne graduated from the University of Dodoma with a degree in computer engineering. He also studied Linux administration. Jumanne believes the digitization of transactions will become more prevalent over time due to globalization. Having access to learning more about Linux and becoming certified through the scholarship opportunity will put him in a position to create more software to sustain the global switch.
Sindi Issaka, 22, Niger
Sindi is a programmer analyst with a passion for open source. By completing the LiFT training and certification, Sindi wants to follow in the developmental footsteps of Linus Torvalds and dreams of creating new opportunities to technologically advance Africa.
Sweety Shukla, 19, India
Sweety is a computer science major at NIT Rourkela with a strong interest in open source. As a developer, Sweety has used a number of open source softwares including Linux, Python, ThingSpeak and more. She is a firm believer in utilizing open source as a means to work together with other developers from diverse backgrounds and facilitating a sense of community with one another. She is currently doing projects related to IoT and cloud computing and wants to eventually begin contributing to the expanding open source community.
Karthik Ramakrishnan, 18, India
Karthik is a freshman at the Manipal Institute of Technology in India pursuing a degree in electronics and communication engineering. He has always shown an interest in technology and began using Linux as his primary operating system after he completed LFS101 on edx. Following completion of his LiFT training and certification, Karthik wants to continue exploring open source and exchanging knowledge with others within the open source community.
Fabian Manuel Pichardo, 24, Mexico
Fabian has Bachelor’s Degree in Mechatronics, and has worked with multiple hardware platforms such as Nvidia, Xilinx, Microchip, National Instruments. He is skillful with languages such as C++, Python, Matlab and Julia, and created the Mechatronic Student Society to offer programming training for newbies and demonstrate new technology trends.
Adedayo Bello, 28, Nigeria
Adedayo holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and while a beginner in open source, he believes it is the future and will be very beneficial for problem solving and creating new innovations. He looks forward to learning more about both graphical interfaces and the command line.
SysAdmin Super Stars
Onyeibo Oku, 43, Nigeria
Onyeibo manages an e-laboratory in the Department of Architecture at Enugu State University of Science and Technology in Nigeria. He feels that open source training and certification will make his inputs more convincing to his peers and to their ICT Department. Additionally, Onyeibo feels further training will make it easier to convince the institution to consider open source tools for administrative and public relations tasks. He wants to expose open source to other Nigerians who may not have access due to poor infrastructure and economy and believes this scholarship will help him do so.
Deepak Neupane, 36, Nepal
Deepak wants to use to use this scholarship as a means to provide easier access to medical care in the rural areas of Nepal. Initially beginning his career as a Microsoft system engineer, Deepak shifted his focus to open source five years ago and now feels acquiring training and certification in open source will make him an asset to his organization, rural area and his personal career.
Jotham Chikuwe, 18, Zimbabwe
Jotham is a young boy from Zimbabwe who taught himself the basic terms of programming through the use of open source software such as Linux Operating System, PHP scripting language and Python programming language. He believes learning open source is vital to tap into the minds of the world’s best developers and plans to use this scholarship as a stepping stone to become one of the best developers.
Lauren Li, 17, United States
Lauren is a senior in high school with an extensive STEM background. She has used open source software in a multitude of biology projects. Additionally, she has researched viruses using SWISS-MODEL and Clustal Omega, applied SCHEMA for chimera library design, and developed her own open source software to predict protein disruptions. Lauren wants to use this scholarship to learn Linux without the financial burden. Ultimately, Lauren aspires to make contributions to cure and prevent human illnesses through science, technology and music.
Women in Open Source
Rae Becerra, 36, United Stated
Rae is the Senior Network Engineer at the Museum of Science in Boston. She has utilized open source to support public education and nonprofits. She believes that having the flexibility to implement a solution without an excess financial burden is critical in keeping organizations up-to-date and operational, especially in education, when funding is not always available.
Xheni Myrtaj, 24, Albania
Xheni has a Bachelor’s degree in business information and a MS in information security. She has used open source software for years, began developing last year while contributing to Nextcloud and has since become involved as a developer for phpList. Xheni wants to use this scholarship to jump start her training for a career in security and desires to bring more women into utilizing open source.
Photographs of all 2018 LiFT Scholarship recipients can be downloaded at
About The Linux Foundation
The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at www.linuxfoundation.org.
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