Announcing our latest coding bootcamp scholarship awardees

To create new paths into tech for more students, and particularly members of underrepresented populations in tech, we have two types of full-tuition scholarships for our coding bootcamps, which we offer on a rolling basis.

Below, meet the latest recipients of our We Stand Together Scholarship and Galvanize Scholarship. Plus, we briefly caught up with Jason Wesson, a bootcamp graduate who was awarded a scholarship back in 2021. He talks about the impact of the scholarship and what he’s up to now as a Software Engineer II at 2U, an educational tech company.

Editor’s note: The bios below were provided by the awardees.

We Stand Together Scholarship

Our We Stand Together Scholarship is for those who identify as Black or African-American and who are interested in our Beginner Coding Bootcamp. To plan for a more equitable future in tech, we launched an Opportunity Fund back in 2020 to fund this scholarship, and today, we’re happy to announce the first recipients of 2023. 

We Stand Together Scholarship recipient Christina Thomas







Christina Thomas
Galvanize and the We Stand Together scholarship allows Christina the opportunity to bring the idea of working as a software engineer to life. Before she found herself looking for something new, she was a social worker working in elementary and middle schools wanting to make a difference in children’s lives by empowering them to be their authentic selves, amongst other things. She is excited to take her social work skills and apply them to the field of tech. She believes this is a place where she can make a difference, as well, once she has the tools and skills to do so. To embark on this journey is a blessing, she said.

We Stand Together scholarship recipient Andy Bullitt.

Andy Bullitt
Andy Bullitt has been a restaurant bartender, gym receptionist, celebrity dog walker, mechanical engineer, and drag fashion designer since the pandemic’s onset. He moved to New York City in 2021, by way of San Francisco, to get more involved in the fashion industry, specifically technology-integrated fashion garments. While he had sewing and mechanical engineering prowess, he started to realize, while fooling around with Arduinos, that he lacked the programming knowledge that would set him apart in the tech-fashion industry, as well as secure him career stability in the hyper-capitalistic metropolises he was interested in living in. He resolved that it was worthwhile to increase his skillset through an accessible program such as the beginner program at Hack Reactor. Andy’s goal is to create a boutique atelier of fashion-integrated garments (dresses that actuate, headpieces that mechanically open and close, LED-integrated gowns that change color based on the wearer’s mood) as a passion project while working in an inclusive software engineering space.

We Stand Together Scholarship recipient Brett Shields.

Brett Shields
Brett Shields grew up in Oregon in a mid-sized city called Oregon City. After struggling to find passion in his work as a telecommunications contractor, Brett enrolled in the Oregon Police Academy. He graduated from the academy with an unsatisfied hunger for problem-solving and critical thinking. Brett has always had a passion for computer hardware and how everything worked together to give users a fluid experience at the click of a button. While building his first computer, he discovered a new interest in computer science. Brett is excited to join Hack Reactor and put his problem-solving and critical thinking to the test in hopes of continually learning and showing others that people from all different backgrounds can achieve a career in tech.

We Stand Together Scholarship recipient Ayan Fatah.

Ayan Fatah
Ayan is a young Black girl from a low-income family who has always had a passion for technology. Despite facing many obstacles and limited resources, she taught herself how to code and build websites. Her hard work and determination paid off when she was awarded a scholarship to study software engineering at an accelerated learning program. She is now on her way to achieving her dream of becoming a software engineer and is determined to use her skills to make a positive impact in the world. As a role model for other young girls of color, she hopes to inspire them to pursue careers in the tech industry.

We Stand Together recipient Tosha Williams.

Tosha Williams
Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma Tosha began developing a love for technology at a young age. Excited to venture outside of their hometown, they moved to Norman, Oklahoma where they pursued a B.A in International Security/Chinese and Intelligence Analysis. During their time as an undergraduate, they dedicated much of their time to Black activism and traveling to other countries to further educate themself about other cultures. They helped create multiple mutual aid organizations, as well as traveled to Taiwan and China to further their language skills. After graduating, they pursued their M.A in Public Policy at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. It was there that Tosha decided to incorporate their love for technology into a way that they can give back to their community and the organizations they helped build. They are now excited to learn these coding skills in order to create a coding mentorship for young Black girls and Black LGBTQ members. Tosha is truly honored to receive the We Stand Together Scholarship.

Galvanize Scholarship

Our Galvanize Scholarship is open to Individuals who identify as belonging to one or more groups that are historically underrepresented in the tech industry, including BIPOC (Black/indigenous/person of color), formerly incarcerated persons, those in the LGBTQIA+ community, persons with disabilities, persons over age 40, Veterans, and women. Meet the latest Galvanize scholarship recipients.

Galvanize Scholarship recipient Matthew Harris.

Matthew Harris
Born in California, Matthew’s interest in tech began with his first experience with PCs and gaming when he was 5. He was introduced to web development in his teens and gained marketable skills and experience while enrolled in a course offered by The Last Mile, becoming his class’s first teaching assistant. Through group and individual projects, he created multiple functional websites, including a list-keeping app, and re-creations of classic arcade games. Matthew plays guitar and video games in his free time. He now works for a small LLC and is determined to use his time in Hack Reactor to grow and advance his goals!

Galvanize Scholarship recipient Valerie Shamshyna.

Valerie Shamshyna
Valerie was born and grew up in Eastern Ukraine but had to flee her hometown with her family as a teenager due to the start of a violent conflict in the area. Two years later, she immigrated to the U.S. with her mother and has since then finished a bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Illinois in 2022. While fascinated by scientific research and always interested to learn about it, Valerie realized through her university experience that she is not interested in pursuing it professionally and would like to instead have a career just as mentally challenging and rewarding in the tech industry. Outside of academics and work, Valerie is passionate about hiking, backpacking, dancing, horseback riding, and anything else involving being outside or in the company of animals. Valerie’s biggest and proudest achievement in life is cycling across the U.S. as part of a university nonprofit organization Illini 4000 to raise funds for cancer charities. Valerie is incredibly grateful to be selected as a Galvanize scholarship recipient and excited to start the program!

Galavnize Scholarship recipient Amanda Southern

Amanda Southern
Amanda is a violinist and arts administrator from Asheville, North Carolina. After working for U.S. opera houses and classical music festivals, she became aware of a gap in technology readily available for arts and cultural institutions. Amanda hopes to use the knowledge gained at Hack Reactor to help better serve the arts and music by building intuitive solutions that allow for culture and creativity to flourish in communities. She enjoys playing the violin, the art of making espresso, and has a cat named Louie. Amanda is grateful for the generosity of the Galvanize Foundation and hopes to be a role model for young women in tech.

Galvanize Scholarship recipient Joseph Camarena

Joseph Camarena
Originally from California and raised in Arizona, Joseph is a first-generation Mexican-American and the youngest of three. Joseph is a self-starter and committed to never stop learning. He comes from a background in finance, working as a mortgage loan officer. While working for some of the largest Fin-Tech companies, he developed a passion for the technological side of the business. Joseph has a goal of promoting diversity and inclusion within the tech industry, by promoting that Mexican-Americans can be more than capable of being proficient software engineers.

Bootcamp graduate Jason Wesson on the impact of his scholarship

Jason Wesson

Since graduating from our Intermediate Coding Bootcamp in 2021, Jason Wesson has worked as a Software Engineer at Code for America and is now a Software Engineer at 2U, an educational technology company. He made the transition from math teacher to software engineer, in part thanks to the scholarship he received for the bootcamp, which provided financial support to make the career change.

“The short-term impact that the scholarship had for me was that I had 5 months of rent that I could pay for while I was in the bootcamp (back when the deposit was $2000 – it’s now only $100). I was already 100% committed to attending Hack Reactor, but this easily made an impact on whether I’d be in more financial debt than I wanted to be,” he said.

On his team at 2U, he handles a number of repos “that can either be very React-heavy, such as a user’s profile or certificates pages, or backend heavy like our Django app that handles the demographics of a user,” he explained.

In addition to the job, Jason is a member of our Scholarship Advisory Council, where he reviews applications and offers feedback. Plus, he hosts regular Zoom sessions through the Galvanize Tech Community for those interested in learning to code via a bootcamp experience.

“This is my favorite way of networking,” he said. “If it means that I helped only one more person by making myself available to answer questions and share my experience, then it’s worth the past two years I’ve spent in the community.”


If you’re interested in learning how to participate in our Scholarship Advisory Council, please contact for consideration. A team member will set up a brief Zoom call to discuss your interest, the application review process, and our expectations of council members. Firsthand familiarity with Galvanize programs is helpful, though not necessarily required. Current or prospective students of Galvanize programs are not considered to avoid conflicts of interest.

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