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Congrats to our Spring 2018 Scholarship Winners

After much deliberation and sorting through hundreds of applications, Hack Reactor and our dedicated advisory Board are pleased to announce the 5 newest recipients of Hack Reactor’s full tuition scholarship, and 6 recipients of the Hack Reactor x Facebook Scholarship.

The Board was impressed with their stories, passion, and drive on their journey toward changing their life through Hack Reactor.

Here are the stories about our winners. We can’t wait to see the great things these recipients will do with their Hack Reactor education!


Arthur Ryabtsev arrived in US at the age of 19 and quickly found his home in New York. He While pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing Management from Baruch College, he also fought for LGBTQ rights within and outside the United States. His career moved him across several companies and tech startups, where he uncovered flaws in the design of products with which he interacted. Battling an inability to build his own ideas into tangible solutions, he embraced a path to programming. After learning to code through Hack Reactor's Structured Study Program, he is now psyched to be part of the Hack Reactor community, and beyond happy for the opportunity to concentrate on his dreams and devote 120% of himself to the full-time program!


Luda Shashua is an experienced designer. She earned a dual Masters degree in Architecture and Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. After moving to California, she combined skills from her previous career in the tech industry with her passion for design,working on numerous projects including 3D modeling and product design initiatives for Bhatt lab at the Stanford Cancer Research Center. Her passion for exploring the continuum of digital, physical and spatial design and immersive experiences brought her to explore Hack Reactor. Luda hopes to master her skills in web development and make next steps towards her professional dream to become a product designer in a forward-thinking organization which operates in a field that promotes education, creativity, and social values.


Growing up, Christina Yuen knew her interests did not follow social norms. She was more intrigued building something than playing with dolls. After graduating from UC San Diego, she sought a professional career as mechanical engineer. But soon, she discovered her passion for coding. She is very thankful to receive this scholarship, grateful for the amazing opportunity, and excited to pursue her dreams. Her goal is to be able to create a website for underrepresented engineers to support, learn and help each other succeed. She believes anyone can be an engineer and looks forward to making an impact on future generations.


Nicholas Harry Fray grew up in the small town of Boonville, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Aerospace Engineering. He then worked in construction as a Field Engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area where he learned many important life skills. During his time there, he felt a powerful desire to do more for others. After much research on how to affect change in the world along with encouragement from friends and family, he quit his job to pursue Software Engineering full time. He can’t wait to give Hack Reactor his all in the hope that hisfuture work will make a difference in others’ lives.


Navira Abbasi was the first in her family to have graduated college. She used her eye for design and her business degree to become a handbag designer and entrepreneur. She loved designing and interacting with customers, but soon realized she needed more meaningful and creative work in her life. This ignited the spark to learn software engineering. A firm believer that technology has the power to rapidly change the world and bring people together, Navira wants to specialize in Front End Artificial Intelligence. She wants to develop software that intelligently interacts with people while simultaneously giving them a beautiful UI experience.


Georgina Lopez grew up in a predominantly Mexican-immigrant community where she had limited access to knowledge about the broader world. Learning about the geography, history, and culture of regions including Africa and Asia was both eye-opening and fascinating to her, leading her to study Culture and Politics at the School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University. After graduating, Georgina worked at the Inter-American division of USDA, then with various immigrant-owned small businesses, where she realized that many latinx entrepreneurs lack some technical literacy to be competitive. This realization sparked her interest in learning software engineering so that she can eventually use her skills to empower these communities.


Pooja Kodavanti graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with degrees in economics and business journalism. Shortly after, she dove into a tech startup in Denver as a Venture for America fellow. Launching apps from the business side sparked an interest in understanding how these products were built. While self-learning JavaScript through online tutorials, Pooja’s interest in coding quickly grew. She joins Hack Reactor to broaden and deepen her interests in computer science and emerging technologies.


Born in Houston, raised in Los Angeles, and growing up in an “African Jewish home”, as his mother always said, Aaron Tesfai’s career path has been just as eclectic. From his film experience, he learned about empathy and organization; from the legal world, he embraced logic and analysis. Now, as a Hack Reactor student, he is optimistic he will make an impact in people’s lives with the power of technology across the world and in the places that helped inform his decision to grow as a software engineer.


Richelle Ji grew up in Toronto, where she went to university and studied finance, eventually working in various roles across the financial sector. She took an early interest in FinTech and, specifically, building tech products. She is looking forward to developing skills in software engineering with Hack Reactor in hopes that her education can be utilized to lower barriers for underserved Communities and accelerate the pace of innovation in finance.


Cheyenne Noel Chun is fascinated by human growth and resilience. She spent the last decade exploring how society is transformed through philosophy, bodywork, and coaching. Now, she’s inspired to witness and participate in the unprecedented transformations taking place through software, with a special focus on advocacy for queer women and those at risk of marginalization. Her nonprofit Sprout Initiative focuses on improving young adult outcomes through mentor relationships and constructive socialization, and she hopes Hack Reactor will teach her how to leverage technology and reach far more at-risk youth. As a former San Francisco street kid, she knows deep change is possible.


For three years Justin Meskan has had one goal, to become a Software Engineer. He has had to overcome obstacles that most people only experience on television With determination and a laser-like focus, he has push ahead. He taught himself web development while at San Quentin State Prison (and with no internet!). Falling on challenging times, he pushed ahead and graduated from CODE7370, a program that gives prisoners a chance to learn marketable skills and give something back once they’ve rejoined society. His scholarship to Hack Reactor is a continuation on his path to freedom and opportunity.

Let's give these incredible winners a round of applause! We can't wait to see what things they accomplish during and after the Hack Reactor program.

You could be a Scholarship recipient too! The next application window is now open, so get ready by taking our Free Intro to JavaScript Course.

Read more about the $1.3 Million Dollar Hack Reactor Scholarship Fund and learn more tips from Albrey Brown on how to be a scholarship finalist.

The application window for the Hack Reactor Scholarship runs from March 16th to May 18th. Best of luck and congratulations again to our most recent winners!