LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) — A Long Island teenager is getting a big boost for her college dreams.
Kelly Gaussaint, 17, of Central Islip, is one of 400 high school seniors nationwide to receive a $40,000 scholarship for higher education in engineering.
Amazon said its childhood-to-career initiative is designed to “inspire and educate millions of students each year from underrepresented and historically underserved communities.”
Recipients were chosen based on various criteria, including academic achievement, participation in school and community activities, work experience, future goals, and financial need.
Gaussaint is the daughter of Haitian immigrants and one of three children. Her mother is a nurse, and her father is a transit officer with the NYPD who was injured on the job.
Gaussaint said she realizes it is not easy for her parents to pay for three children and three college educations, so the scholarship is monumental to help her get the education she needs and the life she wants.
Gaussaint grew up in Central Islip and said once she began attending Central Islip High School her love of computer science and engineering flourished.
“I just want to make sure I can live a life where I can help people. I definitely want to make the technology that is used in hospitals to help make it easier and more cost-efficient for people who can’t afford it,” she told PIX11 News on Wednesday.
Gaussaint’s mother, Gina, said she is so proud of her daughter.
“Her middle name by the way is Grace, and she’s my amazing Grace. I just want her to continue the amazing work that she’s doing,” she said.
Gaussaint is her class valedictorian and she’s already been accepted to Georgetown University; she’s waiting to hear from Duke University.