We were pleased to hear this month that Churchill College in the University of Cambridge has selected two new students to receive this year’s Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary.

Charlotte Kenyon and Olivia Wilson, both 18, are in the first year of their degrees and are two of six young female students in the UK who will receive the bursary this year.

The Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary offers funding of between £3,500 and £7,500 per year to a female student attending one of the three universities neighbouring our three UK Development Centres in Cambridge, Edinburgh and London.

Students from households with an annual income under £42,620 are eligible for the bursary and up to 24 female students a year are set to benefit from the programme.

In addition to funding, Charlotte and Olivia will also have a dedicated Amazon mentor who’ll give advice on business skills, as well as the opportunity of a potential work placement at our Cambridge development centre which works on a range of projects that serve customers around the world.

I want to work where I can see I’m making a change, and part of that change will be encouraging more young women to study STEM subjects.

Charlotte, who is studying general engineering, says her parents played a big part in her choosing a degree in the subject.

“My mother is a chemistry teacher and my father is an engineer so I think being exposed to those subjects from a young age had a big impact on me developing an interest in them. Luckily, the stereotyping of STEM as being for boys didn’t affect me. For other young women, to see Amazon supporting someone like me shows that the company cares about nurturing talent and encouraging women into STEM subjects.”

“I’m the first in my family to pursue a career in science and technology, so to have a mentor with experience in the industry will be a massive help,” Olivia adds. “I can’t wait to get started. The potential to explore such an influential company like Amazon is a fantastic opportunity.”

Charlotte and Olivia’s eyes are already turned towards the future, with both seeing technology as having the potential to make the world a better place. They agree that selection for the bursary represents an opportunity for them to play an immediate role in the futures of young women who are interested in technology.

“I think I’d like to work in bio engineering or energy, particularly renewable energy,” says Charlotte. “Those areas are so important and they have the potential to really improve people’s lives. I want to work where I can see I’m making a change, and part of that change will be encouraging more young women to study STEM subjects.”

“Technology is really changing the world,” added Olivia. “I want to play a leading role in helping to make people’s lives better, but I haven’t decided exactly which discipline I want to follow after university. My mum really inspired me; she was always encouraging me and telling me I could do it. It’s important for other young women to see companies like Amazon helping students like me and Charlotte explore their passion for technology.”

Professor Dame Athene Donald, Master of Churchill College at the University of Cambridge added: “Churchill College in the University of Cambridge is proud to continue its partnership with Amazon for the Women in Innovation Bursary, providing funding, mentoring and the potential for work placements for female students. I hope that the support provided by the bursary will encourage more young women to consider a career in innovation and apply for this funding to help them achieve their goals. The tech sector urgently needs greater diversity. I’d like to congratulate Charlotte and Olivia on being selected for the programme and wish them all the best in their studies.”

Meet Claire: one of three women selected for the Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary

Claire Doherty is one of three women in the UK to be selected for our Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary, which provides funding for up to four years of university as well as access to an Amazon mentor, to encourage women to pursue a STEM career.