NEW HAVEN, Conn., June 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Holberton School New Haven, an innovative non-profit higher education model for software engineers, today announced that the Connecticut Fairfield and New Haven Supporters Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE CT-FANS) awarded scholarships to help offset living expenses of two current students while attending Holberton. The scholarships were presented at NSBE CT-FANS’ first Annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet.

“Increasing the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community is the core mission of the National Society of Black Engineers," said Shoshannah Burnett, president, NSBE CT-FANS. “Holberton’s mission to make high-quality education accessible to individuals from all walks of life closely aligns with this. We’re excited to partner with the school and open up our scholarship for young individuals pursuing STEM education, to their students as it will help us both continue to have a direct and positive impact on the industry.”

Holberton is focused on increasing diversity in the tech sector, as well as breaking down the barriers to accessing high-quality education—beginning with its blind admissions process which eliminates human bias in selecting applicants for admission. This has resulted in much greater student body diversity as compared to the current industry standard. Of the nearly 400 students and graduates from the San Francisco campus to-date, about one-third are women, more than half are people of color, 21-percent are the first in their family to attend post-secondary school, and 29-percent indicate that English is their second language. For the January cohort in New Haven, two-thirds of the students identify as people of color.

Once enrolled, students participate in an intensive hands-on learning experience built on project-based peer learning to acquire practical skills in addition to deep technical skills and an understanding of the theory.  The hands-on approach and focus on critical soft skills prepares them for professional success and a lifelong career in software engineering.

Holberton students are able to attend with no upfront tuition and are instead asked to contribute a portion of their salary to the school for the first three and a half years of their post-Holberton employment. The deferred tuition model is an important factor in making the program more accessible to individuals from different backgrounds. However, students still need to cover personal living expenses for the duration of the program, which is why scholarships like the ones awarded by NSBE-CT FANS are so critical.

“NSBE is an incredible organization. They are an invaluable partner for the school and a tremendous resource for our students,” said Nadine Krause, director, Holberton School New Haven. “Scholarship programs are typically reserved for students pursuing traditional higher education, so we’re honored that the board chose to support our students in this way. Inclusion in the scholarship program further validates our students and the training they’re receiving, while helping to reduce financial burdens as they work diligently to become experts in the field.”

This year, NSBE CT-FANS awarded five scholarships totaling $7,500 during their first Annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet. Of the five scholarships awarded, three went to local high school students while the remaining two “collegiate” scholarships were awarded to Holberton students, Alisha Smith and Mohameth Seck.

Smith relocated to Connecticut from New Jersey, applying to Holberton after pursuing a Computer Science degree at a traditional university. After less than two years, she realized the pace of learning was not what she expected. With family and friends out-of-state, Alisha has to balance time dedicated to her studies with maintaining two jobs to ensure she can cover living expenses.

“Coming to Holberton changed my life and propelled my personal development,” said Smith. “The hands-on peer-learning approach keeps me engaged and motivated, and truly sets me up for a successful career. I’m thankful to have been chosen to receive this scholarship because it allows me to continue attending Holberton and dedicate more time to something I love.”

Seck is a West Haven native who was previously enrolled in the University of Hartford. He began to look for alternative forms of higher education because he wanted to find a more collaborative and hands-on program. He was introduced to Holberton by a friend, and immediately applied for the January 2019 cohort.

“I was really excited to find out that Holberton was coming to New Haven only 15 minutes from my house,” said Seck. “During my first trimester at Holberton, I tried to maintain a part-time job but my grades began to slip. I was able to save enough money so that I could dedicate my time to my studies in the second trimester, but I’d have to begin working again in August. This scholarship means I can focus on being a full-time student for longer, and for that I’m truly grateful.”

Holberton School New Haven is currently accepting applications for the September 2019 cohort. Individuals interested in applying can visit www.holbertonschool.com.

About the National Society of Black Engineers
NSBE has more than 30,000 members worldwide, with 2,000 elected leadership positions, 18 regional conferences, an annual international conference, and an annual national convention. Since its inception over forty years ago, NSBE has grown to include approximately 310 collegiate student chapters, 99 pre-college programs, and 88 professional chapters with their 6,000 technical members. A professional staff operates NSBE's World Headquarters in Virginia.

About Holberton School New Haven
With campuses in San Francisco and New Haven, CT, Holberton trains software engineers using a revolutionary teaching method based on project-based and peer learning. The college alternative is free until students find a job. Graduates have been placed in high-impact engineering positions at companies like Apple, Tesla, Facebook and LinkedIn. Students are supported by mentors and investors who are leaders in technology, sports and entertainment, including: Grammy-Award winner NE-YO, actor and social activist Priyanka Chopra, New York Jets standout Kelvin Beachum; and technology visionaries Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn CEO), Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang, Docker founder Solomon Hykes and Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel. Go to www.holbertonschool.com to learn more.

Editorial Contact
Caitlin Mullen for Holberton School New Haven