A Deep Dive into Irvington Scholarship Recipients: Aryan Dua


My scholarship is called the Amazon Future engineer scholarship. It’s awarded to 100 high school seniors–who are planning to pursue computer science–for their computer science achievements in high school. It’s given out by Amazon and it’s $40,000 total over four years. I’ll be going to UT Austin as a Turing Scholar for their computer science honors program.

I heard about it from my computer science teacher, Mr. Fung, he was nice enough to let me know about it and told me if I was interested in applying, he would be more than interested in writing my letter of recommendation. It looked like Amazon’s scholarship was very focused on computer science. They heavily consider your computer science accomplishments in high school, as well as award an internship in the summer following. So that internship opportunity with Amazon, as well as the fact that they’re focused so heavily on computer science, I thought, made me a good candidate to apply. So I went for it. 

Being involved with Irvington’s Computer Science Club definitely helped me get the scholarship. But probably most importantly, a lot of competitions, such as USACO, the Google Code Jam, and Code Forces; doing a lot of those computer science competitions definitely got me there. I also took a lot of community college classes and advanced-level computer science classes. So that was sort of a distinguishing factor between me and the other applicants. One of my favorite competition memories was when I passed the USACO gold division to become Platinum Certified. It had been two years, so over eight competitions, where I had failed to pass the gold competition. After hundreds of hours of preparation for that, I was able to pass–almost barely–in the two-hour time window. 

I’ve been doing computer science for a really long time, I honestly just enjoy solving a lot of problems, using the power of a computer to crunch millions of bytes of data and it’s a really exciting and fun experience for me. So being able to solve problems with computation, it’s been really exciting. I got involved with CS research around junior year, I feel like I could have done that even sooner, it would have been really fun to do that because I found a lot of joy in it. But I could have started even sooner in terms of sort of learning new stuff. I’ve been focusing a lot on core computer science. So recently, I’ve been branching out into the development side and all that stuff. I guess there’s always scope for learning more, but overall I’ve enjoyed my experience. 

In CS research, I worked with a professor to optimize the precision of an object detection algorithm, and improve its accuracy overall, by adding an edge detecting pre-processing step. It’s mostly all machine learning, and like, you know, edge detection and all the neural networks and training new neural networks. 

I would definitely say do a lot of the competitive programming competitions, you know, get involved with other extracurricular opportunities, you know, the club at school, taking community college classes. also the AP CSA class at school. That’s sort of like a baseline for doing some computer science. I would overall advise them to just have fun with it. Computer science is a very wide field And whatever interests you in computer science, you should pursue it. With the number of resources that all these big companies including Amazon are putting out for us including the scholarship and this internship, it’s all super exciting, so just have fun with it.