Announcing the CDS Pathbreaker Scholarship for Post-Traditional and First-Generation Students

NYU Center for Data Science
2 min readDec 8, 2023
Pathbreaker logo

In an era where the democratization of education stands as a cornerstone for innovation, CDS is taking a significant leap forward with the introduction of the CDS Pathbreaker Scholarship. This initiative not only reflects a commitment to diversity but also a recognition of the untapped potential in non-traditional backgrounds. “We’ve been thinking for a long time about ways to make CDS, especially the Master’s program, accessible for more people,” remarks Jonathan Niles-Weed, Chair of the DEI Committee at CDS.

The Pathbreaker Scholarship emerges from the collective vision of CDS’ DEI Committee. “The idea first came together as we were exploring new strategies to overcome financial barriers and broaden inclusivity in data science education,” Niles-Weed recalls. “Financial constraints can be a big barrier, particularly for someone from a non- or post-traditional or first-generation background.”

This scholarship offers a tangible solution, covering half the tuition for six incoming Fall 2024 MS students in the Master of Science in Data Science program — totaling 18 points of tuition, plus fees support. The Pathbreaker is tailored for the next generation of data science innovators, specifically those who are the first in their family to attend college or hail from non-traditional backgrounds.

Applying for the scholarship is seamless. Prospective students need only apply for the CDS MS program to be automatically considered. While not mandatory, applicants are encouraged to highlight their qualifying experiences in the personal statement section of the MS application. Further details and resources are available on the scholarship page, including insights into what qualifies as a “post-traditional” or “first-generation” student — check out the “More Information on Who Qualifies” section at that link.

Niles-Weed expresses enthusiasm about the scholarship’s potential impact: “We’re excited about the possibility that this might really be a transformative thing that can help launch the careers of some folks.” This sentiment resonates with CDS’ broader mission — to not only educate but also empower the next wave of data scientists.

As the world becomes increasingly data-driven, the Pathbreaker Scholarship stands as a beacon of hope and opportunity. It invites a diverse cohort of aspiring data scientists to embark on a journey that transcends traditional educational paths. Apply now and take the first step towards changing the world with data science.

By Stephen Thomas



NYU Center for Data Science

Official account of the Center for Data Science at NYU, home of the Undergraduate, Master’s, and Ph.D. programs in Data Science.