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The Linux Foundation Announces 27 Recipients of LiFT Scholarships

Promising individuals from around the world receive the opportunity for training and certification that otherwise may be out of reach

PRAGUE – OPEN SOURCE SUMMIT EUROPE – October 24, 2017The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, has announced the recipients of its 2017 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarships. LiFT provides advanced open source training to existing and aspiring IT professionals from around the world.

This is the seventh year The Linux Foundation has awarded training scholarships. Seventy-five scholarships worth more than $168,000 have been awarded to date to current and aspiring IT professionals who may not otherwise be able to afford specialized training. Scholarship recipients receive a Linux Foundation training course and certification exam at no cost.

This year, The Linux Foundation received a record 1,238 applications for 14 scholarships – 2 each across 7 categories. The quality of applications in the Linux Newbies category was so high that the decision was made to award an additional 13 scholarships in that category, bringing the overall number of LiFT recipients this year to 27, the most ever awarded by The Linux Foundation.

Unsurprisingly due to the popularity of the free Intro to Linux course, the most popular category was Linux Newbies, followed by SysAdmin SuperStars and Academic Aces. Applications were received from six continents from applicants ranging in age from 15 to 65 – with an average age of 28 – reflecting that all types of people from around the world are interested in quality open source training opportunities.

“There are countless individuals around the world with a passion for open source, but many lack the resources to grow and participate more in the community,” said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin. “Programs like LiFT scholarships help these promising individuals get involved and contribute back, making the community even stronger. The hope is this creates a ripple effect, enabling them to share their knowledge and bring even more talented individuals into the open source movement.”

Scholarship recipients for 2017 across each category are:

Academic Aces

Asirifi Charles, 22, Ghana

Asirifi is in his final year studying computer science at the University of Ghana. He has taught himself about web development through free online resources, and recently became interested in open source, completing the free Intro to Linux course on edX. He hopes this scholarship will help expand his open source expertise so he can share it with others in Ghana, where it is difficult to access IT education.

Camilo Andres Cortes Hernandez, 31, Colombia

Camilo studies technology at EAN University in Colombia, where he also runs a nonprofit that teaches individuals about cloud computing. His main focus currently is on Azure, and he hopes this scholarship will help him to obtain the MCSA: Linux on Azure certification from The Linux Foundation and Microsoft.

Developer Do Gooder

Badri Basnet, 65, Australia

Badri uses Ubuntu along with an open source Geographic Information Systems software, QGIS, and open source learning management system Moodle to develop hands-on GIS learning resources and teach GIS skills to undergraduates at the University of Southern Queensland, in addition to volunteering to educate others about GIS. He hopes this scholarship will provide skills to improve software based hands-on GIS learning resources.

Pedro Guarderas, 33, Ecuador

Pedro started with open source by creating a plugin for QuantumGIS with Qt and C++. Since then, his interest in open source development increased, and he has gained experience with Debian, C++, R, Python, Fortran, SQL, git and several scientific libraries. He wants to learn more about Linux, in particular distributed or parallel programming.

Linux Kernel Guru

Bhumika Goyal, 22, India

Bhumika has had over 340 patches accepted into the Linux kernel. She served as an Outreachy intern earlier this year, focused on the Linux kernel, where shel worked on securing the kernel from surface attacks by making the kernel structures read-only. Since her internship, she has continued this work with the support of The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative. Her goal is to become a full time kernel engineer after completing this current project.

Mohammed Al-Samman, 25, Egypt

Mohammed has spent the last year working on the Linux kernel, doing analysis, debugging and compiling. He has also built an open source Linux firewall, and a kernel module to monitor power supply electrical current status (AC/DC) by using linux kernel notifier. He hopes to become a full time kernel developer, and expand the kernel community in Egypt.

Linux Newbies

Alexander Anderson, 28, United Kingdom

Alexander starting coding in PHP at 14 years old, and currently runs Debian as his primary operating system. He hopes this scholarship will help him establish a career in open source so he can better care for his wife, who suffers from disability.

Fatma Aymaz, 28, Turkey

Fatma was raised in a region where most people believed women should not receive an education. She fought for the ability to attend school, and eventually received a university degree in international relations. She hopes to take this opportunity to make a move and establish a career in open source computer science.

Jules Bashizi Irenge, 36, United Kingdom

Jules is an asylum seeker from Congo, who has earned a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Liverpool. He is a long time Linux user, completing his undergraduate project on CentOS 6. He hopes to go onto a Ph.D program in computer science, and use Linux for future research projects.

Cruzita Thalia Cabunoc, 21, Phillippines

Cruzita is currently studying computer science at the Technological Institute of the Philippines-Quezon City. She found shell scripting intriguing while taking Intro to Linux, and now has the goal of becoming a Linux systems administrator after she completes her studies.

Dimitris Grendas, 27, Greece

Dimitris has studied informatics and cybersecurity at two different universities, and hopes to eventually earn a Masters in cybersecurity. He is preparing to start an internship where he will compile a custom Linux system based on Systemd from source code instead of using pre-compiled binary packages.

Valentin Ilco, 25, Moldova

Valentin works at the Center of Space Technologies of Technical University of Moldova, where he has helped with development of the first Moldovan satellite, which utilized open source software. He hopes to use even more open source in his future projects.

Andreea Ilie, 28, Romania

Andreea studied Japanese and East Asian culture during her university years, but had a strong interest in IT. She taught herself using free online resources in her free time, and eventually managed to secure an IT job despite her lack of formal training and experience. She has a few Python projects hosted on GitHub, and hopes this scholarship provides her with a stronger knowledge of Linux, and the certification to demonstrate it.

Carlo Martini, 27, Italy

Carlo is currently pursuing a computer science degree at night school. He is active in the Venice Linux Users Group, volunteers to write documentation for the Mozilla Developer Network, and is part of the Amara Translating Team for the GitHub. His day job is working for a government-sponsored program for Italian youth, but hopes this course will help him become a full time open source professional.

Emmanuel Ongogo, 24, Kenya

Emmanuel holds a computer science degree, and is a fan of Ubuntu, using it as his primary operating system since 2013. He’s seen an uptick in the use of open source in Kenya, including using CentOS to run the recent elections, and hopes to encourage it to spread further in the country.

Darius Palmer, 47, United States

Darius is a ward of the state of California, currently living in a halfway house with other formerly incarcerated men. He always had an interest in computers when he was younger, and after completing the free Intro to Linux course, he wants to learn more and eventually become active as a contributor to the Linux community.

Andi Rowley, 25, United States

Andi has a drive to learn more about open source as she wants to live in a world where individuals collaborate to improve technology. Since completing Intro to Linux, she has wanted to become a Linux systems administrator, and hopes this scholarship will help her accomplish that goal.

Sara Santos, 46, Portugal

Sara recently completed a specialized course in managing computer systems and networks, but has been unable to secure a job. She is passionate about open source, and would like to work in systems administration, especially with web servers, so expects this scholarship to help achieve that.

Sokunrotanak Srey, 28, Cambodia

Sokunrotanak didn’t study computers, but decided after school to go into the field anyway. He currently works as an IT technician at non-profit Asian Hope, where he first encountered open source in the form of Ubuntu. He hopes this scholarship will help him improve his skills to better serve Asian Hope and the people it helps.

George Udosen, 42, Nigeria

George originally studied biochemistry, but now has a passion for open source. He would like to learn more and become certified in Linux so he can pursue a career teaching it and encouraging more people to join the open source community.

Glenda Walter, 28, Dominica

Glenda studied building and civil engineering in college, but now wants to become a Linux systems administrator. She has starting running CentOS 7 but knows she needs more training before she can make a big career change into open source.

SysAdmin Super Star

Omar Aaziz, 39, United States

Originally from Iraq, Omar now administers the computer science clusters at New Mexico State University. He manages the Linux firewall to prevent and detect cyber attacks and transfer data safely. He also administers a 180TB supercomputer storage system and perform backups. He is also pursuing a Ph.D and hopes to become a high performance computing engineer, helping to develop the next generation of supercomputers.

Leonardo Silva, 41, Brazil

Leonardo has worked with Linux for 20 years, and recently shifted his career towards cloud development based on Linux and Kubernetes framework. He currently contributes to several open source projects, and plans to begin contributing to Hyperledger soon. He plans to use the scholarship to take the Kubernetes Fundamentals course to provide better service to his clients.


Vinícius Almeida, 15, Brazil

Vinícius is in his first year of high school but is already taking computer science courses at the Federal University of Bahia. He has written several articles on robotics and open source technologies, and is active in his local hackerspace, the Raul Hacker Club. He also volunteers his time to write browser extensions for the GNU Project. Vinícius hopes the knowledge he gains from this scholarship will help him convince more individuals in Brazil to adopt open source.

Sydney Dykstra, 18, United States

Sydney recently graduated high school, and has been contributing to several open source projects, including the game The Secret Chronicles of Dr. M. and Supertux. His goal is to become a Linux systems administrator, and hopes this scholarship will jumpstart that.

Women in Open Source

Jona Azizaj, 24, Albania

Jona is in her final year studying Business Informatics at the University of Tirana. She’s been involved in open source for four years now, initially starting by contributing to Fedora, and is now involved with LibreOffice, Mozilla, Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, Nextcloud and more. She also participates in the Open Labs Hackerspace in Albania, which has evolved to have 70% women participants. She hopes to get even more women involved in the open source community.

Marie Drottar, 62, United States

Marie is a Clinical Research Specialist in the neonatal neuroimaging department at Boston Children’s Hospital where she does neuroimaging data analysis. She believes improving her skills in large batch processing of imaging data using Linux scripting will enhance training of new research assistants, postdoctoral employees, and medical students, the large majority of whom are women. She hopes to use open source to enable us to analyze larger and larger volumes of data and to make predictive models for health care and early intervention studies with infants and children.

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 2017 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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