Hull student awarded national Amazon engineering bursary worth £20,000 to pursue her dreams of using technology to help people

A student from Hull has been named as one of the 2023 recipients of the national Amazon Future Engineer Bursary, making her one of 30 women in the UK to receive the bursary this year. Nicole Phan started her Economics and Data Science degree at Royal Holloway University in October this year.

Nicole Phan

The Amazon Future Engineer Bursary provides a financial support package of up to £20,000 to students from low-income households to help address the underrepresentation of women studying computer science and engineering at UK universities.

Nicole was awarded the bursary by demonstrating a passion for innovation and driving change through technology. Nicole has been awarded £20,000 to support university-related expenses, including accommodation and living costs, or to contribute towards tuition fees. Nicole, along with the other awardees, will also receive a package of wraparound support to increase her professional and networking capital.

Since the Amazon Future Engineer Bursary launched in 2021 in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, Amazon has awarded over £1 million worth of funding and currently supports 75 women studying STEM-related degrees at UK universities.

Growing up in Hull, Nicole Phan grabbed every possible opportunity to broaden her horizons and pick up new skills.

“I did a few exchange programmes with my school to France, Spain, and Italy,” she tells us. “I was also in theatre productions, I was in the choir, and I learned the piano and the trumpet — I was known for getting involved with a bunch of different things!”

This curiosity and desire to learn translated into Nicole’s studies. While she initially wanted to pursue a degree in law, it was in the summer of Year 11 that she decided to try her hand at programming.

“I did coding camps and learned by myself,” Nicole explains. “I thought it was such a cool way to learn a new language.”

Her love of both computer science and social science led her to pursue a degree in Economics and Data Science, which she is now studying at Royal Holloway.

To support her studies, Nicole applied for the Amazon Future Engineer Bursary, and couldn’t believe it when she found out she’d won it: “It really solidified to me that I’m someone who can change the world in the future, and it’s great to see that the education gap between people from higher and lower socioeconomic backgrounds is narrowing — everyone deserves to have a voice.”

Nicole is keeping her options open for the future, but she’s excited about the possibilities. “I’m thinking of pursuing a masters,” she says. “But I might also want to become a data analyst. I do know that I want to use technology to help the human population.”