Creekview High School student Kenny Chirino was of the first recipients of a $40,000 Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship to study computer science at a university of his choice. In addition, Chirino received a paid internship at Amazon after his freshman year of college. Chirino said he will attend Yale University in the fall and hopes to use his computer programming skills to help others.
How does it feel to be one the scholarship recipients?
I’m extremely honored. I was incredibly excited that I was chosen out of so many applicants for the first group that Amazon selected for the scholarship.
How is the money going to help you in your education pursuits?
It’s going to take a lot of burden off my shoulders. I won’t have to worry about money and that will allow me to focus more on my studies.
What college do you want go to?
I’m going to be attending Yale this fall.
What inspired you to study engineering and computer science?
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been interested in exploring the world around me in science. One of the first books that I read was “500 Science Experiments,” and I remember spending my time performing that. Recently, I think it was in the summer of 2014, I wanted to build a computer. I spent a lot time indulging in books, technology websites and YouTube videos, hoping to learn more about it. I saved up money to build it, and that was one of the catalysts that really got me into computers. From there I’ve been experimenting with programming languages like Python and creating programs.
What’s one project you’re most proud of?
It was my computer. I didn’t just learn about what I needed to do, but I enjoyed reading more about how the hardware worked.
Do you still have the computer?
Yes. I use it daily for homework.
What would be your ideal job?
My ideal job would be something that allows me to create new things, innovate and gives me creative freedom and allows me to put to use what I’ve learned and help other people whether it be developing new products or technology.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I’ve been playing baseball since I was 6 years old so I really like playing baseball. I also like mountain biking, programming and gaming.
What’s your favorite movie?
“Star Wars.” It was one of the first movies that I watched as a kid, and I became a big fan. I actually have a huge collection. Since I was a kid I’ve been collecting the action figures from the original series and I have hundreds of them.
Who are the people who has helped you in life?
Both of my parents. They always took to me to museums and so that created a sense of loving to learn new things and explore. That’s helped me in school and they just allowed me to explore my interest.