Richlands High School student awarded $40,000 college scholarship from Amazon


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

RICHLANDS, Va. — A Tazewell County high school senior has been named an Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship recipient and will receive up to $40,000 to pursue computer science, engineering, or related degrees at the college or university of his choice.

Owen Bales, Richlands High School senior, is one of 23 students from Virginia and 400 nationwide to receive this award this year, along with a paid internship offer at Amazon after his freshman year of college.

He plans to attend Harvard University.

The Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship gives eligible scholars the opportunity to gain hands-on, practical work experience with mentorship from Amazon leaders. Through Amazon Future Engineer, the company's global philanthropic education initiative, each student will also receive skills development and mental health resources, access to an emergency grant fund for unexpected financial obligations that might prevent them from attending school, and networking opportunities with their peers and Amazon employees.

Recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, including their academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, work experience, future goals, and financial need. Amazon partnered with Scholarship America to review the applications and select the 400 scholars.

"Our scholarship recipients' unwavering dedication to academic excellence and their passion for leveraging technology to uplift communities is truly inspiring," said Victor Reinoso, global director of education philanthropy at Amazon. "It is very exciting to see Owen receive the recognition and scholarship awards he so richly deserves. He will represent Richlands High School and Tazewell County very well," said Dr. Christopher Stacy, superintendent of Tazewell County Public Schools.

Richlands High School Principal Rickie Vencill added, "Owen is an outstanding student and will do great things at Harvard University."

Amazon launched the Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship program in 2019, awarding hundreds of students annually with up to $40,000 over four years to pursue an undergraduate science or engineering degree.

Contact Greg Jordan at

Contact Greg Jordan at