Nokia Canada Announces Four Winners of the NextGen Tech Scholarship 2023
Meet the Winners
Earlier this year, Nokia Canada announced their NextGen Tech Scholarship. We invited students to tell us about themselves with the chance to win $7,500 a year for two years. After all, who doesn't need a little extra cash to get by while you hone your skills?
We were thrilled to see so many talented applicants for this year’s scholarship. After careful deliberation, we have announced our four winners; Ali, Anna, Harry and Vanshika. Check out their videos and bios below:
Hey there! I'm Anna Vrbaski, and I am currently in my third year of Computer Science at Carleton University. I've had a great time working in automation testing over at Nokia's CNS department.
While working at Nokia, I was assigned to create documentation on automation test suites and their execution statuses and fix the issues in failing test suites. Using the Nokia Policy Controller and REST API, I was able to recreate the error under controlled conditions and isolate the cause. From there, I used Robot Framework to develop a solution to these errors.
I've also done volunteer work with the Nokia StrongHer group during their Girls in ICT Day event, where we encourage young girls to pursue an interest in tech. As part of the Girls in ICT Day event, I ran an interactive station where participants explored AI concepts through a hands-on project involving simple machine learning algorithms. It was rewarding to see their excitement as they began to grasp these concepts, and several girls expressed a newfound interest in pursuing tech studies. This experience confirmed my belief in the importance of representation and mentorship in encouraging diversity within tech. Outside of tech, I also love CrossFit and painting.
Hi! My name is Ali and I’m honored to be a recipient of the 2023 Nokia NGT Scholarship. I am currently in the final year of my BSc in Computer Engineering at the University of Alberta. Nokia was one of my first co-op placements and I have fallen in love with the company and culture ever since.
I first joined in January 2022 as a software developer in Optics Hardware 4LS, under Network Infrastructure. After that term, I continued my work part-time during my studies, up until April 2023. Since then, I have now in another co-op as a software developer in Optics Network Automation, still under Network Infrastructure.
In my free time outside of work and school, I have been involved with many student groups. This included organizing workshops to introduce young students (from underrepresented backgrounds) to engineering as a Director in TeamUp Science. Additionally, I helped launch a reusable dish program at my university, leveraging my technical skills to create a dish-tracking system. I have also volunteered at local non-profits to address other philanthropic needs, such as addressing food insecurity and giving school supplies to underprivileged students. In my free time, I love to be outside, whether that is playing tennis outside in the summer, or skiing in the mountains in winter.
My name is Harry Dandiwal, and I am pursuing my education at Algonquin College in Ottawa, where I am in the final semester of the Computer Programming program. I had the incredible opportunity to work as a Customer Application Engineer Co-op at Nokia during the fall of 2022. I was part of the NI business group, specifically in the NSP 3LS team. This experience has allowed me to work alongside talented professionals, apply my academic knowledge in a real-world setting and gain invaluable practical experience. Outside of work, I have a passion for playing volleyball. Engaging in this sport brings me joy, keeps me fit and helps me regain my mental strength.
In addition to my core responsibilities, I have actively promoted diversity and inclusion at the workplace. In my role as a Sales Manager at my previous workplace, I had the privilege of creating my own sales team. I used my understanding of diversity and prioritized skills, personality, and passion over other factors like gender, age, background, etc. to build a strong and diverse team. To nurture inclusivity, I promoted open discussions, encouraged the sharing of opinions, and fostered appreciation for different perspectives. With that, our team not only achieved outstanding sales results but also created a workplace where every team member felt valued, respected, and heard.
In addition to my core responsibilities, I have actively promoted diversity and inclusion in the workplace by supporting employees from different backgrounds and promoting a sense of belonging. When I was promoted to a Sales Manager role at my last workplace, I got an opportunity to build my own team. During the hiring process, I prioritized skills, personality, and passion over factors like gender, education, experience, and age. For Instance, there were people onboard with no prior experience but a passion to learn, and on the other hand, there were people with more experience than myself. By explicitly requesting a diverse set of resumes, I aimed to create an inclusive workplace where everyone's opinions were valued and respected. Once the team was onboarded, we fostered open communication, appreciation for different perspectives, and a sense of belonging. Weekly meetings were held to encourage discussions beyond work-related matters, and we visited other work locations to learn from different teams. These efforts resulted in a healthy and productive working environment where team members were comfortable and took pride in their team. Our achievements spoke for themselves, as we experienced exceptional sales growth, high customer satisfaction, and improved business operations compliance. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, we not only achieved outstanding results but also nurtured a workplace where everyone thrived.
Hi, I'm Vanshika Virmani, now a 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, studying computer science and statistics. I have been very fortunate to complete an internship at Nokia as a Software Engineer in the NSP 4LS team in Fall 2022.
Before coming to Canada to pursue my bachelor’s, I spent a large part of my teenage years in Nairobi, Kenya. It was during this time that I became aware of the disparity in the wealth distribution in the country, the various economic classes, and the importance of education for the youth. During the next few years, I spent time borrowing spare IT equipment and setting up a computer lab in an orphanage to give the children access to a digital world and the skills that come with it. Moreover, I was heavily involved in the establishment and growth of a social enterprise, Plastiki Rafiki, that initially started as a plastic-recycling platform, but eventually grew into an economic opportunity for the youth to market and sell products while benefitting from our digital network.
Ever since coming to Canada, I have been fortunate to not only dive deep into the world of technology but also understand the responsibility that comes with it. I am looking forward to further expanding my horizon with Nokia.