Des Moines Student Wins Amazon’s $40K Scholarship & Internship


Alexander Alvarado-Barahona, a senior at North High School in Des Moines, has been awarded an Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship, including a $40,000 scholarship to study computer science at a university of their choosing AND a paid internship at Amazon after their freshman year of college.

Alexander is one of 100 high school seniors from underserved communities across the country who will receive this scholarship. This year’s winners were chosen among thousands of applicants and include: 

  • 2 students from Iowa
  • 51 female and 49 male students
  • 86% BIPOC students

In Alexander’s essay for the scholarship, he outlined an idea to implement biometric identification on school campuses in an effort to increase school security. In addition, he discussed how working in his parents’ local grocery store, La Centroamericana, from the age of 13 was formative in his commitment to academics.  



  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects: 
    • From 2019 to 2029, the market for computer science professionals will grow 11 percent faster than the average for all occupations and, 
    • In 2020, the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250, which is more than twice the median annual wage for all occupations in the U.S.
  • Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field, but only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a small percentage from underserved and historically underrepresented communities. 
  • Students from underserved and underrepresented communities are 8 to 10 times more likely to pursue college degrees in computer science if they have taken AP computer science in high school. 


  • Third year running or scholarship program
  • 300 scholarships awarded
  • $12 million in donations
  • Goal this year to reach 1.6 million underrepresented students globally through Amazon Future Engineer with real-world-inspired virtual and hands-on computer science project learning

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