(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Amazon awarded 400 high school seniors a $40,000 Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship which includes a paid internship at Amazon after their freshman year of college including a student from Colorado Springs.

18-year-old Christian Ruiz Mendez of Saint Mary’s High School in Colorado Springs was one of the students awarded a scholarship.

Amazon’s Future Engineer Scholarship awards students $40,000 over four years to pursue a degree in computer science or engineering and a paid internship after their freshman year to gain practical work experience with mentorship from Amazon leaders.

“… My hope is to start my own software engineering company, specifically in the field of logistics. I believe there is a great opportunity to optimize processes using software engineering. My dream is to orchestrate organized chaos in places such as restaurants or venues where so much has to be done for the event to go smoothly,” said Mendez “… My engineering degree specifically in the study of Computer Science, coupled with my ventures in business will provide a foundation for me to pursue problems where an understanding of both fields can be blended together to create a solution.”

Amazon said students were selected from underserved communities and based on a variety of other criteria, including academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, work experience, future goals, and financial need.

According to Amazon, this year’s scholarship winners included more than 70% who identify as Black, Latinx, and Native American (BLNA) and 50% who identify as a woman or nonbinary.

Other Colorado students include:

  • Tate Hutchins – Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village – Cherry Creek School District
  • Henok Tewolde – Smoky Hill High School in Aurora – Cherry Creek School District
  • Bianka Kodrich Saavedra – Poudre High School in Fort Collins – Poudre School District
  • Osedebamen Okhihan – Rangeview High School in Aurora – Aurora Public Schools
  • Donald Ledvina – Bayfield High School in Bayfield, Colo. – Bayfield School District
  • Bryan Martinez Vazquez – North Park High School in Walden – North Park School District
  • Frida Rojo – Basalt High School in Basalt – Roaring Fork School District