Meet the Scholarship Judges: Abbie Vlahakis
Posted on Thursday May 13, 2021
The Millennium Point Scholarship is an annual competition in partnership with Birmingham City University which awards a fully funded undergraduate degree at the faculty of Computing, Engineering, and the Built Environment. Now in its seventh year, we look at the STEM leaders behind this year’s judging panel.
Abbie is CEO of Millennium Point, and head judge for the Millennium Point Trust Scholarship 2021. Abbie has been instrumental to the project since her appointment as CEO in 2018, ensuring that the impact of the project remains significant and in line with overall objective of the Millennium Point Trust to grow STEM education and opportunities in Birmingham and the wider region.
“I think STEM is important to the region because it’s the careers of today and it’s also the careers of the future,” she says.
“The scholarship is incredibly important – it’s about showcasing STEM and supporting people, because if you change a child’s life then you change a family’s life and their future and that’s everything that we want to do. STEM is about creating things, solving problems, and these issues will never go away, and so STEM careers will always be there,” she adds.
“They’re also beginning to underpin lots of the traditional careers – so whether you’re a lawyer, an accountant or in medicine, STEM is behind all of that. There’s also a huge skills gap in STEM at the moment, and if we can get more and more people into STEM careers, that will be great for the economy and great for the region.
Abbie continues: “The scholarship is really important to Millennium Point, and it is one of our flagship initiatives; it’s about creating an opportunity for young people in the region that they may never have.
“It’s wider than winning the scholarship, it’s bigger than that – it’s the journey you go on from the minute you become a finalist and the exposure to different industries and key people in the region. If you do go on to win, you become an ambassador for Millennium Point Trust and that will take you on a journey where you’ll meet lots of different people.
“What am I looking for from the candidates? For me, it’s about someone who’s really invested in what they want to do with their chosen subject; over the years of doing the scholarship, it always amazes me at such a young age they can look at what they want to do with their subject and how they can make a difference in the world.”
What I’m looking from the candidate is ‘this is what I’m going to do, this is how I’ll make a difference to the region with what I choose to do’ – so someone who’s incredibly focused on that they know it’s going to change their lives and they’re going to make their lives better with that career.
“We really love the Millennium Point Scholarship; it’s really important, and it’s having a great impact on people; we’re already seeing the benefits of the scholarship on the people that came through seven years ago, and they’re doing exactly what they wanted to do, so we really want people to apply for the 2022 Scholarship. STEM is still really important – it’s the careers of the future and we want to help you to get where you want to be without that financial burden. We can support you.”
For more information on the scholarship competition, or how to apply, please visit www.millenniumpoint.org.uk/scholarship
Find more interesting content from Millennium Point over at our news section, or follow us for daily updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn with @MillenniumPoint. Millennium Point is a landmark public building and multi-award-winning events venue in the Eastside of Birmingham City centre. Profits from our commercial activity are invested by the Millennium Point Charitable Trust into projects, events and initiatives which support the growth of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and education in the West Midlands.