When he was 20, Anton Sydorenko packed a bag of summer clothes and emigrated alone from the Ukraine to Chicago, IL. He had only $700 in his pocket.
Sydorenko’s first years in the country were spent adjusting, practicing his English, and working minimum wage jobs to support himself. One of those jobs entailed working security at a popular LGBT nightclub in Chicago, where he found friends and a community. He participated in LGBT-geared festivals and helped build a float for a pride parade on one memorable occasion.
Eventually, Sydorenko’s hard work carried him from community college to a transfer to UC San Diego. It felt like a significant achievement for someone whose parents never attended school. Sydorenko believes it was made possible by the risk he took in moving to a new country where he had neither friends nor family.
“You really have to experience the poverty, obstacles and total corruption of ‘developing’ countries to truly appreciate and respect ‘the land of opportunities.’ Two years ago I became a U.S. citizen and it is one of my proudest achievements,” said Sydorenko.
The scholarship will support Sydorenko’s education and love of coding. For him, “receiving an award that is named after Alan Turing, the father of computer science, is especially motivating and inspiring.”
Currently, Sydorenko and several classmates are designing an app that will help find homes for animals held in shelters.