Five recipients awarded Open Source Scholarships

Since 2016 Catalyst has supported computer science students with Open Source Scholarships, awarding two scholarships each year. This year there was such a fantastic candidate selection, we couldn’t narrow it down to just two, so we have awarded the scholarship to five recipients! The students each receive $6000 over the course of a three year degree.

Catalyst believes in supporting juniors and new graduates in the tech industry, and actions this in a variety of ways, such as running the Open Source Academy, hiring juniors, internships, and the Open Source Scholarships. The scholarships team was very impressed with the calibre of applications and is delighted to offer support to five more students starting their university journeys this year.

“We have been blown away by the quality of our local students,” says Catalyst managing director Don Christie. “This suggests that the digital future of Aotearoa will be in good hands.”

This year's successful scholarship recipients are: Hanan Fokkens, Ruby Campbell-Stokes, Niamh Avery, Ocean Steer, and Sophia Halapchuk.


Sophia HalapchukSophia Halapchuk is studying computer science at the University of Auckland, and plans to work as a software developer. Sophia is interested in the fundamentals of computer software, like the mechanisms and processes behind algorithms, programming languages, and software engineering, as well as human-computer interactions and the human behaviour inherent in technology. Sophia attended Catalyst’s 2021 Open Source Academy and has created, an interactive web app for New Zealand parents and students to locate tailored maths resources, as well as book consultations and lessons with an experienced maths tutor.


Hanan Fokkens in a suit and tieHanan Fokkens is studying software engineering at the University of Canterbury, and hopes to contribute to projects that make a positive difference in the world. Hanan loves using programming to help people and to solve real-world problems. Hanan has created two open source projects while at high school, including a Flask image search plugin. This was created to help find images of vintage radios on the website so that site users can find a radio without having to know a lot about vintage radios.


Ruby Campbell-Stokes is also studying software engineering at the University of Canterbury, and hopes to eventually get into the space industry through potential software engineering related roles such as developing flight plans and embedding software systems in missions and satellites. Ruby was awarded the UC Engineering Top Achievers Scholarship for school leavers, placing her in the top 20 engineering students at UoC. She also attended Catalyst’s 2021 Open Source Academy.


Niamh Avery Niamh Avery is studying data science and finance at the University of Otago, and is interested in working as a data scientist or business analyst in the fields of data science or information security. Niamh is passionate about problem solving and research and development and hopes to use technology to make the world more efficient, equitable, and sustainable. She has volunteered at a primary school code club and was a finalist in a Girlboss NZ competition with her proposal for an investment portfolio app for female investors, and in the future would like to create her own platform to make data science more accessible to young people.


Ocean SteerOcean Steer is studying software engineering at Victoria University of Wellington, and plans to work as a software engineer. Ocean enjoys the whole process from planning to developing code to bringing a project to completion. Seeing your own programme working without flaws makes all the work worth it, he says. Ocean was head student at Wainuiomata High School and has received several academic awards.


Congratulations to all!