Suha, Rosales earn $40K Amazon scholarships


An internship while in high school can be extraordinary. But an internship and a scholarship?

That’s exactly what Shadia Suha and Hilary Rojas Rosales were awarded recently, the Sacred Heart Academy seniors named winners of the $40,000 Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship for 2023 — and a paid summer internship with Amazon.

Returning home from school one afternoon, both young women were surprised to find the award waiting for them. The scholarship is good for $10,000 each year toward an undergraduate degree in engineering or computer science. The 12-week internship will come after their freshman year in college.

That means both Shadia and Hilary will have a chance to work on some of Amazon’s groundbreaking technologies and core platforms, like Alexa voice technology, Amazon Web Services, and the Amazon retail platform.

Hilary, a Hempstead village resident, has always had a passion for computer science. She plans to attend SUNY Binghamton’s Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science in the fall. Aside from the challenging science and research program, Hilary says she’s made new friends each year in the program, while still finding time to take care of two parakeets, Bella and Jacob.

Shadia, who lives in West Hempstead, cites the friendships she’s made at Sacred Heart, as well as a research project she worked on with Brookhaven National Laboratories, which helped reinforce her passion for the study of medicine through engineering and robotics.

And somehow she still finds time to play the violin, the piano and the guitar — just for fun.

“Not only are Shadia and Hilary intelligent, hardworking scholars, they lead with compassion, courage and commitment,” said Sister Jean Amore, Sacred Heart’s principal, in a release. “Sacred Heart Academy is so proud of them.”

Sacred Heart’s focus in science and math prepares students to apply their scientific knowledge to real-world challenges. Both Shadia and Hilary have spent a great deal of time in Sacred Heart’s science research center, a state-of-the-art facility designed specifically for student-developed research projects.

Students from historically under-represented and under-served communities represent just 18 percent of computer science bachelor’s degrees across the country, according to Victor Reinoso, global director of philanthropic education initiatives at Amazon.

“We believe that connecting students to computer science education and opportunities help create a more equitable and inclusive future — across all industries and sectors — for generations to come,” Reinoso added, in a release.

Those winning Amazon scholarships were selected based on academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, community involvement, work experience, future goals and financial need. In all, Amazon handed out 400 such scholarships across the country.

Founded in 1949, Sacred Heart Academy is an all-girls Catholic college preparatory school sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph. Current students come from more than 40 school districts, and graduates go on to recognized top-tier colleges and universities.