A Glasgow student who fled war discovered her new career plans on TikTok.

Shikha Shamdin was born in Syria but had to escape the country as a young girl for her safety.

After spending two years in a refugee camp, Shikha and her family were rehomed in Scotland.

She struggled to learn the language but found comfort in maths then through social media decided to get involved in computer software.

Glasgow Times: 18-year-old Alia Brooks also secured funding18-year-old Alia Brooks also secured funding (Image: Sourced)

Shikha explained: “Most of the time I didn’t know what people were saying as I didn’t understand basic English, but I was already far ahead with maths.

“That was the one thing that made me feel smarter than everyone else.

“I used to want to be an architect, but it was actually a girl on TikTok who inspired me to get into computing and software.

“She talked about her experience of becoming a software engineer, and she’d share online courses to help others looking to pursue the same career.”

Glasgow Times: Maisara Abdul opened up about her journey and career inspirationsMaisara Abdul opened up about her journey and career inspirations (Image: Sourced)

Now Shikha has joined three other students, from Glasgow and East Kilbride, in securing £75,000 to help with their studies.

They are four of 30 women in the UK to become 2023 recipients of the national Amazon Future Engineer Bursary, a grant which provides financial support for low-income households to help stop the underrepresentation of women in the industry.

Alia Brooks knew from a young age that she wanted to be an engineer.

Glasgow Times: Marija Ali was always interested in STEM subjects at schoolMarija Ali was always interested in STEM subjects at school (Image: Sourced)

The 18-year-old, from East Kilbride, said: “I loved learning how to make websites, and building modifications for my favourite games like Minecraft.

“I found out I’d got [the funding] on the same day that I found out I got my first choice for university, so it was a great day! I ran to tell my mum as she’s always been pushing me on to succeed, and I loved how proud it made her.”

When Maisara Abdul moved from Malaysia to Glasgow six years ago, she initially found it challenging to settle in, but soon found her feet in high school: She said: “I enjoyed maths, chemistry, and physics, particularly the electrical aspect.

“I realised that programming was a whole new world.

“I really enjoyed taking part in hands-on experiments, and the course pushed me to challenge myself and grow.”

Marija Ali, 17, was always interested in STEM subjects and looking to the future, Marija wants to use her skills for good.

She explained: “I would love to be a software engineer for a healthcare company and develop software for medical purposes — it's a sector that is often overlooked.”

“There are so many things you can do with computer science, and it’s the answer to so many problems.

“I want to be one of the people that applies it.”

Since the Amazon Future Engineer Bursary launched in 2021 in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, Amazon has awarded over £1 million worth of funding and currently supports 75 women studying STEM-related degrees at UK universities.