Silicon Prairie News

More than $14,000 in scholarships given to Omaha Code School students

Omaha February 21, 2014 by Jordan Pascale

Cara Heacock was excited for a new opportunity when applying for Omaha Code School, but the 24-year-old college grad was a bit worried about her financial situations.

She was taking three months off work and just bought a new car.

But Wednesday, she got a big surprise.

Heacock, one of three females enrolled in the Code School that kicks off Monday, was awarded nearly $3,000 in scholarships.

It covered half of her tuition.

"When (lead instructor Sumeet Jain) told me, my stomach dropped out," she said. "It was amazing.

"I've had some help from family and raised about $1,500 through indiegogo, but this takes a lot of worry away."

Thursday, the school announced $14,500 in scholarships with special attention to females in the program.

The scholarships will help offset the $6,000 in individual tuition for the program's 14 students. 

GitHub, which has a history of wanting to help grow the pool of female coders, donated $2,500 to each of the three female students. 

GitHub also pledged $10,000 in scholarships for women attending the next class of Omaha Code School.

"We are so grateful to GitHub for their incredible generosity," said Sumeet Jain, one of Omaha Code School's founders. "Their contribution in support of women in technology goes above and beyond."

Jain said every industry has its problems with diversity, but he said tech has been missing the female perspective for too long. 

He said he's happy to have some support to help remedy the problem.

"We dont want to continue to foster a homogenous environment," Jain said.

Heacock (right) agreed.

"My boyfriend and I got into a debate over the issue," she said. "Women are so underrepresented in the tech sector—they make up something like less than a quarter of the jobs—so this is a great start.

"It's encouraging."

Jain hopes the $10,000 scholarship for women will boost the amount of women who apply to Code School.

Meanwhile, Big Wheel Brigade donated $1,000 to split equally among the group.

Another group of startups—Flywheel, Lyconic, Lemon.ly and ad agency Swanson Russell—combined to donate $6,000 to be split evenly among students. 

Jain said he is equally, if not more grateful, to the local companies that are supporting Code School.

"They were first people to lend us credibility as we got off the ground," he said. "They enabled us to be a serious organization.

"We don't expect startups to give thousands, but we don't diminish their contributiuons -- they were our angels."

In all, men will get about $500 in scholarships while women will get about $3,000. 

Several students have taken to online campaigns to raise money for tuition.

Jain said he's been actively pursuing scholarship dollars and was excited to see the response.

Code School begins Monday at Midtown Crossing. 

Read more about Omaha Code School through our previous coverage: "Organizers believe Omaha Code School will turn novices into new hires."

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