Dunblane High School student Jessica Francis has been selected for the prestigious national Arkwright Engineering Scholarship due to her outstanding abilities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
With a love of coding, sixteen-year old Jessica started to teach herself to code when she was just seven using the Scratch educational tool for coding before moving on to the high-level and general-purpose programming language Python. During lockdown, Jessica created a Monopoly predictor program, which predicts which housing properties a player is going to land on; basically playing the game itself. She then created a website for her mother’s business Kirkmillan Consulting.
In addition to Jessica’s love of computer science, the engineering scholarship incorporates wider aspects of STEM skill development including coding.
Jessica said, “the Arkwright Scholarship offers me so many opportunities to develop my skills, including Connect Days where I can meet industry professionals, especially women, to ask questions and explore my potential future career opportunities. It’s fun and I’m positioning myself well to secure the ideal job in the future. My particular scholarship is sponsored by cyber security company CrowdStrike who will provide me with a mentor. I have to fit these experiences into my normal school week but it’s definitely helping me to develop a special insight into the industry.
“I’m not interested in developing games; I want to create things that are useful. My first Arkwright virtual event involved developing a cat feeder app; I always forget to feed mine!”
“CrowdStrike is proud to support Jessica as she continues to build her computer science, engineering and coding skills with the help of her mentor from our Engineering & Technology team,” said Colin Black, CrowdStrike Chief Operating Officer and Executive Sponsor of the company’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives. “As the world’s leading cloud-native cybersecurity company, we are committed to making investments in students around the world, particularly those who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, to improve their access and opportunity to high-quality, high-value learning and development opportunities. Congratulations to Jessica and all Arkwright Engineering Scholarship winners. We look forward to welcoming you to the workforce in the years to come and are excited to see the impact you will have in our industry and beyond.”
Arkwright Engineering Scholarships is the most esteemed scholarship programme of its type in the UK, with over 6,000 Scholarships awarded to date. Run by educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust, the programme is designed to inspire and develop the next generation of future leaders as they continue their journey into the exciting world of engineering. The Scholarships are awarded to hard-working 16 year-olds through a rigorous selection process, providing them with financial support, industry experience and real-world learning opportunities, supporting them through their A levels, Scottish Highers or equivalent qualifications.