Google scholarship winner 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Technion spokesperson's office)
A third-year student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology who is visually impaired, Ahmed Zaid
Abassi, received this week the 2013 Google Scholarship for students with
The scholarship, in the amount of 7,000 euros, will be
awarded to Abassi at Google’s offices in Zurich, along with 16 other winners
from all over Europe later this year.
According to Google, winners are
chosen each year from dozens of candidates who have demonstrated excellence in
and passion for computer science, computer engineering, informatics and other
closely related technical fields.
Eligible candidates are students with
mental health or other long-term health conditions, including dyslexia, visual
impairment, hearing impairment, diabetes, epilepsy, depression, anxiety
disorders, and any other physical or mental impairments or health
Prof. Yossi Gil of the Technion’s Faculty of Computer Science
– who taught Abassi a programming languages course in his second year of studies
– had recommended him for the scholarship.
“I don’t usually write letters
of recommendation for scholarships for students who have not yet completed their
studies,” he wrote in his letter to Google, “I also don’t usually recommend
students from other faculties, but as a lecturer who taught and accompanied
Ahmed for the past year, I recommend him wholeheartedly.
disabilities are usually mostly supported by society,” Gil continued, but
“Ahmed’s case is different.
Not only is he exceptionally smart and learns
like every other students, he also helps others and gives private lessons in
mathematics, physics and computer science to other students in his
Abassi, who speaks four languages – Arabic, Hebrew, English and
French – was born in the United States to a Muslim family and suffers from
nystagmus, a disease causing a constant and involuntary flicker of the eye and
strong sensitivity to light, causing him to be almost totally
Throughout his childhood, which he spent in Israel, Abassi’s
parents refused to enroll him in special education schools, insisting that he
study in the regular education system.
“They always protect me,” Abassi
said, “but also fought for my right to do everything.”
“They did not
raise me in cotton wool, but always gave me the freedom to choose my future and
draw my own destiny,” he added.
Abassi said he is “very excited” to
receive the scholarship and stressed that “this is a unique and special
opportunity primarily thanks to the global name of Google and its added value in
the high-tech industry.”
At his request, Gil will accompany Abassi to
receive his prize in Zurich.