Jun. 19, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed
Two Queens students were selected as 2023 Spectrum Scholars recipients and will each receive a $20,000 scholarship for their junior and senior years, as well as the opportunity to pursue an internship at one of the company’s corporate offices.
Aleenah Alam, of Woodhaven, who studies computer science at Pace University, and Ethan Seow, of Flushing, who studies computer science at Boston University, are both rising juniors. They received a scholarship from Charter Communications, which owns and operates Spectrum Networks.
Alam and Seow are among four New York City-based college students who are part of Spectrum Scholars, the company’s annual college scholarship program for underrepresented students with financial needs.
The 2023 class of Spectrum Scholars includes 20 finalists representing 13 schools across eight states and a variety of academic majors. Selected by Charter executives from a pool of over 800 submissions, applicants had to be rising college juniors with financial need and identify as Asian/Pacific Islander, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and/or Native American.
In total, Charter is awarding $400,000 in scholarships to 20 Spectrum Scholars recipients in 2023.
“We look forward to welcoming the outstanding students selected to participate in this year’s Spectrum Scholars program,” said Paul Marchand, executive vice president and chief human resources officer. “As we continue to make meaningful investments to build a highly skilled and diverse talent pipeline, Spectrum Scholars directly supports the next generation of leaders through financial assistance, as well as invaluable mentorship, hands-on learning and networking opportunities.”
Launched in 2020, Spectrum Scholars is a two-year program designed to introduce students to career paths that match their interests and provide them with real-world experience in a corporate environment. In addition to awarding scholarship funds to be used over the course of their junior and senior years, the scholars receive mentorship and skills training, with the potential for full-time employment with Charter post-graduation.
For Alam, having a Spectrum professional as a mentor presents an opportunity “to get insight firsthand” on things they wish they knew at her age, the things they would do differently, and advice on “how to navigate a career in tech when it’s always evolving.”
According to Alam, Spectrum Scholars will help her to achieve her career goals by allowing her to network with other like-minded individuals and organizations, as well as advocate for policies and initiatives that support greater diversity and inclusivity in tech.
“It means having the opportunity to advance my career and use the resources and opportunities provided to me to deepen my understanding of the telecommunications industry and its potential to make a positive impact in the world,” Alam said in a statement.
In five years, Alam sees herself living in the city in a sunny apartment filled with houseplants and two adorable cats. In her free time, she enjoys reading, photography, and learning how to crochet.
Meanwhile, Seow, who enjoys playing basketball, reading books and cycling, envisions himself as a senior software developer at a startup or mid-size company, managing a small team of developers on impactful, industry-changing software.
By working with a Spectrum mentor, Seow said he will be able to gain a deeper understanding of industry trends, best practices, and the innovative approaches employed by Spectrum.
“Spectrum offers a unique opportunity to connect with players in such a vast ecosystem, which is truly inspiring,” Seow said in a statement. “In the field of software development, I envision engaging with my mentor in insightful discussions about how Spectrum is at the forefront of software and IT advancement.”
As a Spectrum scholar, Seow says he will be able to focus on his career and studies without the burden of his family’s financial situation.
“It represents an opportunity to grow personally and professionally while connecting with other Scholars who share similar circumstances. Being a part of the Spectrum Scholars community will empower me to pursue my goals and aspirations with confidence, knowing that I have the support and resources needed to succeed,” Seow said.
According to Seow, the internship component of the Spectrum Scholars program will give him hands-on experience, enabling him to apply his skills in real-world settings and build a strong foundation for his future career.
Understanding how ideas go from drawings on a whiteboard to production-level software is a valuable skill in the fast-paced world of startups, and the internship will provide me with this foundation. Ultimately, the program is a launchpad for me as a developer, professional, and person,” Seow said.
Alam and Seow will begin the Spectrum Scholars program this fall, including their participation in meetings at Charter’s respective corporate locations and a Spectrum Scholars summit planned for later this year at the company’s Stamford, CT, headquarters.
More information about Spectrum Scholars is available here.