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The Linux Foundation Announces 2016 LiFT Scholarship Recipients

By 2016-08-178月 22nd, 2017Press Release

14 scholarship recipients from 11 countries to receive advanced open source training to help advance their careers and communities

SAN FRANCISCO, August 17, 2016 – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration, has announced the recipients of its 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarships. LiFT provides advanced open source training to existing and aspiring IT professionals from around the world.

This is the sixth year The Linux Foundation has awarded training scholarships. Forty-eight scholarships worth more than $130,000 have been awarded to date to current and aspiring IT professionals who may not otherwise be able to afford specialized training. Scholarship recipients may choose from any Linux Foundation training course and certification exam.

This year, The Linux Foundation received more than 1,000 applications for 14 scholarships. The most popular category once again was SysAdmin Super Star, followed by Linux Newbies and Academic Aces. Applications were received from six continents from applicants ranging in age from 13 to 66, demonstrating the demand for quality open source education across geographies and demographics.

“We hear countless stories from passionate, creative, innovative individuals around the world who want to contribute to open source and their societies,” said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin. “Providing scholarships for advanced training helps those individuals who directly benefit from it to then contribute to existing open source projects and even start new ones, as well as pass their knowledge along to their communities. We hope these scholarships serve as a catalyst for helping open source continue to grow and thrive.”

Scholarship recipients for 2016 across each category are:

Academic Aces

Ahmed Alkabary, 23, Canada

Ahmed is a recent graduate of the University of Regina, where he earned degrees in computer science and mathematics. He began using Linux in the second year of his studies and quickly developed such a passion for it that he began extra studies outside of university to advance his skills. Ahmed’s enthusiasm for Linux even led him to develop a free course on Udemy to teach it to others; nearly 50,000 students have enrolled to date. Now that he has finished his studies, Ahmed hopes to secure a job as a Linux system administrator.

Tetevi Placide Ekon, 24, Burkina Faso

Tetevi is a graduate student studying civil engineering at the 2iE Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso. Since receiving his bachelor’s degree in water and environmental engineering and moving onto graduate school, he has nurtured a passion for computer science, and especially open source. Tetevi has completed free courses covering Linux, Apache Big Data systems and more, and plans to use this scholarship to pursue more advanced training.

Developer Do Gooder

Luis Camacho Caballero, 42, Peru

Luis has been using Linux since 1998, and appreciates that it is built and maintained by a large number of individuals working together to increase knowledge. He has started a project to preserve endangered South American languages by porting them to computational systems through automatic speech recognition using Linux-based systems. He hopes to have the first language, Quechua, the language of his grandparents, completed by the end of 2017, and then plans to expand to other Amazonian languages.

Kurt Kremitzki, 28, United States

Kurt is in his final year of studying biological and agricultural engineering at Texas A&M. When visiting a Mayan community in the Yucatan this spring to help design irrigation systems, Kurt was inspired to take the project a step further: he realized that a system of Raspberry Pis with cell phone connectivity and open source software could create an automated irrigation system based on weather reports and sensor readings. He is now working with a local university in Mexico to develop such a system, which is just the first step in his dream of using technology to find new ways to meet the world’s growing food needs.

Linux Kernel Guru

Alexander Popov, 28, Russia

Alexander is a Linux kernel developer who has had 14 patches accepted into the mainline kernel to date. With his employer, Positive Technologies, he has helped develop a bare metal hypervisor that they hope to open source soon. Alexander anticipates the training provided by this scholarship will help him to be an even more effective open source contributor in the future.

Ksenija Stanojevic, 29, Serbia

Ksenija first became acquainted with the kernel community after being accepted for an Outreachy internship. She quickly began submitting patches, specifically working on splitting an existing input/output driver to better support a multi-function device. She is looking forward to learning more about device drivers, and eventually writing her own drivers.

Linux Newbies

Yasin Sekabira, 27, Uganda

Yasin is a graduate of the computer science program at Makerere University, where he had a chance to do some work with Linux distributions, but taught himself the basics through the free Intro to Linux course on edX and other online resources. He is in the process of bootstrapping a startup to introduce technology to local children who do not have access to computer science education.

Lorien Smyer, 52, United States

Lorien is a former bookkeeper who decided she wanted to start a new career in computer science. She completed a six-month web development bootcamp, followed by Intro to Linux through edX, where she achieved a 100% grade. She hopes that the additional training provided by this scholarship will increase her chances of finding a job that will allow her to exercise her love of coding.

SysAdmin Super Star

Jacob Neyer, 20, United States (deployed with USAF in Europe)

Jacob is a cyberspace operations technician with the United States Air Force, where he administers Linux servers. He has encouraged his superiors to consider open source when looking to implement new applications, and hopes that receiving more advanced training through the LiFT scholarship will allow him to further develop his recommendations.

Sumilang Plucena, 33, Philippines

Sumilang is a systems analyst at the largest hospital in the Philippines, which runs Linux on all its servers. He is self-taught in open source and has helped deploy applications such as OpenMRS to track medical records. He hopes that with additional training provided by this scholarship, he will be able to make the hospital’s IT systems even more efficient, ultimately improving the care patients receive.


Sarah Burney, 13, United States

Sarah is only in eighth grade at her middle school in Maryland, but has already completed a data science course at Johns Hopkins, as well as several coding programs. She is interested in use of Linux to support data science applications. Sarah believes this scholarship is an investment in her learning that she can return over time through contributions to Linux and open source.

Florian Vamosi, 15, Hungary

Florian is a grammar school student who has been using Linux since age 10. Along with a team from his school, he won the innovation competition in his town of Kaposvár for a modular agricultural automation system that monitors weather conditions and automatically compensates to suit the needs of a given plant using Raspberry Pis. He continues to innovate and is working on a color recognition system to categorize stars in astronomical research.

Women in Linux

Shivani Bhardwaj, 22, India

Shivani is a recent computer science graduate who has already had more than 75 patches accepted to the staging driver of the Linux kernel. She completed an Outreachy internship, which impressed upon her the importance of guidance and mentorship as she pursues a career in open source. She hopes to use the knowledge gained from this scholarship to obtain a development job, and eventually to pass that knowledge along to other women who need mentors.

Farlonn Mutasa, 21, South Africa

Farlonn was introduced to Linux by an uncle and immediately became intrigued. She taught herself enough to pass the CompTIA Linux+ certification exam, which opened the door to an internship in South Africa. To pursue the internship, Farlonn left her family in her native Zimbabwe, but since the internship’s completion, she has found it difficult to find ongoing work in the local IT community. Farlonn hopes the training received from this scholarship will give her the skills to secure a stable career in open source.

The Linux Foundation supports a variety of community initiatives and organizations to help advance free and open source software and increase diversity in technology and the open source community. By providing training and event scholarships, and working with organizations such as Women Who Code and Goodwill, The Linux Foundation helps to achieve its goal of increasing diversity in technology and the open source community.

Additional Resources

Photographs of all 2016 LiFT Scholarship recipients can be downloaded at

About The Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at

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