Chatham High School senior Ryan Sherman has been selected by Amazon to receive the first-ever Amazon Future Engineer scholarship of $10,000 per year over four years to study computer science at a college of his choice.

Sherman will also receive a guaranteed paid internship offer at Amazon after his freshman year of college to gain work experience.

“I am honored to receive this scholarship," Sherman said. "I am really excited to study computer science in college and pursue my interest in deep learning and its application in the field of medicine.”

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Sherman was one of only 100 high school seniors selected nationally. Recipients were chosen for their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, work experience, future goals, and diversity.   

“We are so proud of the work Ryan has done while at CHS," Chatham High Principal Darren Groh said. "He is well deserving of this award and we expect that he is going to do amazing things while in college and beyond.”

Dr. Mark Jones, a teacher of mathematics and computer science at Chatham High School, has had Sherman as a student in the Advanced Placement Computer Science course, and he has mentored him in several research projects.

“Ryan is the most accomplished computer science student in the high school currently," Dr. Jones said, "and one of the top computer science students that I have encountered in my many years of teaching. He is an amazing self-starter and an intrinsically motivated student.”

Two years ago, Sherman wrote an article titled “The Promise of Privacy Centric AI” that was published online. The article explores the benefits of incorporating privacy protocols into machine learning. Britain’s National Health Services recently approved his application to start an international community focused on drug discovery with deep learning, as well as developing open sourced intelligent software that allow doctors to provide patients with more personalized treatment.

Last year, Sherman conducted a research project using deep learning techniques to segment brain tumors in 3D MRI scans. He had to acquire the MRI dataset, to learn about the medical issues involved, and to teach himself several new technologies, including the Python programming language and the TensorFlow machine learning framework.

This project was only his most recent in a succession of similar machine learning approaches to medical diagnoses – diagnosing breast cancer, detecting signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and detecting early-stage lung cancer from CT scans. These are accomplishments that would be incredible for college upperclassmen, let alone a junior in high school. For fun, when not diagnosing diseases,  Ryan builds quadcopters and programs drones.

Sherman has been heavily involved in Key Club, serving as the Webmaster and as an Organizer for the Community Outreach Project. He also served as the Vice President of the Research Club and Co-President of both the App Inventor Club and the National Math Honor Society. He has been in the Student Council, serving as the Chief of Staff and the Director of Fundraising. He is also an athlete, a member of the soccer team, winter track team, and spring track team throughout high school.

“We are confident that these scholarship recipients are our country’s next generation of world-changing inventors and leaders. They are an impressive, hard-working group, and we’re thrilled to call them our first class of Amazon Future Engineer scholarship winners,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO, Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. “This scholarship is a reflection of our appreciation for the work these students have done so far, and an investment in them and the future we all share. We are eager to see the bold paths paved by these students as college students, Amazon interns, and beyond.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field, but only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a small number from underprivileged backgrounds. Students from underprivileged backgrounds are 8 to 10 times more likely to pursue college degrees in computer science if they have taken AP computer science in high school.