New scholarships fuel finance and tech opportunities at the U

Maeve McQueeny, 07-18-2023

The Steven B Schonfeld Foundation has made a gift to increase opportunities for students who aspire to careers in tech and finance, funding two academic scholarships annually to sophomore students majoring in computer science or computer engineering.
Engineering scholarship


As Miami continues to grow as a tech and finance hub, the Steven B Schonfeld Foundation is helping to accelerate that trajectory with a recent donation to the University of Miami. 

The newly created Steven B Schonfeld Computer Science and Computer Engineering Scholarship and Award will support students pursuing computer science and computer engineering degrees, with a particular emphasis on female students—who continue to be underrepresented in these fields.

Two sophomores will be awarded fully funded academic scholarships annually over a period of eight years, resulting in 16 Schonfeld Scholars. Each will have their scholarship renewed for three years if the recipient remains in good academic standing. They also will receive a stipend to support research and special projects.

The foundation’s gift also will help the University’s Women in Mathematical Sciences Program, which exposes high school students to advanced mathematics, increases female enrollment and participation in undergraduate and graduate programs, and offers career mentoring, among other efforts.

The Schonfeld Foundation’s gift is part of the University’s Ever Brighter: The Campaign for Our Next Century. The most ambitious in the University’s history, the $2.5 billion campaign is set to conclude in 2025, when the University will celebrate its centennial.

“The University of Miami is committed to creating the strongest talent pool possible, and by welcoming more diverse perspectives to the table, we are ensuring more competitive programs, creative solutions, and brighter opportunities for all,” said President Julio Frenk. “The Steven B Schonfeld Foundation gift will help create more diversity in the field and shape the next generation of industry leaders.”

It’s no secret that computer science and computer engineering degrees are highly valued as new technologies continue shaping how we work, live, and do business. 

An explosion of tech jobs with relatively few qualified candidates offers new graduates the promise of high-paying, high-status jobs right out of college.

Although many are drawn to these opportunities, a gender divide persists as these fields struggle to diversify. 

Research has shown that diverse teams perform better, incorporate a greater variety of perspectives, and drive innovation.

“Women continue to be underrepresented in investment management, finance, and technology,” said Ryan Tolkin, vice president of the Steven B Schonfeld Foundation and CEO and CIO of Schonfeld Strategic Advisors, one of the world’s leading multi-manager investment platforms. “The foundation is committed to investing in women and creating inclusive and equitable opportunities for diverse individuals in math and science.”

Leonidas Bachas, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said it’s an honor that the first two recipients of the scholarships are in the college. “This achievement aligns with our dedication to nurturing future leaders by offering opportunities for women in STEM to learn, grow, and develop stronger skills in the sciences through mentorships and educational empowerment that will generate life-changing scholarship and successful career paths.”

The gift follows the opening of Schonfeld’s second headquarters in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. Schonfeld Strategic Advisors was founded by Steven Schonfeld in 1988.

“Our students have already benefitted from the interactions with professionals from Schonfeld, learning about the financial technology [fintech] application area and how engineers contribute to advancing the discipline,” said Pratim Biswas, dean of the College of Engineering. “This has helped us enable and advance our mission of increasing the diversity of our students and faculty in the College of Engineering.”

“This scholarship will help bring greater gender diversity into computer science and computer engineering and ultimately establish a strong pipeline of talent in the Miami area," said Tolkin.