Investing in the Future: Meet the Second Generation of Emir Zec Scholars

Some people leave a lasting impact on this world and continue to inspire us even long after they are gone. One such person is our late colleague Emir Zec, a QA engineer, great friend, respected colleague and an altruist. 

Last year, in partnership with BHFF, we launched the Emir Zec scholarship program in honor of Emir’s dedication to lifelong learning and helping those in need. A memorial scholarship in his name was just one way for us to continue the road of doing and sharing good.  
On the surface, scholarships provide a source of financial support, but we also see them as a means of encouragement, support, and motivation that will have a positive impact on our young scholars and their continued growth.  

This year, together with the support of Emir’s family, we tripled the number of scholarships and are now proud to support seven promising students. 
After reading all the applications that streamed into our inbox for weeks, we went into the interviewing process. In the end, we chose seven very different and charitable young brainiacs to be part of the second generation of scholars. Despite their diverse backgrounds, they all have one thing in common: an irresistible passion for growth and a drive to help others.  

Without further ado, we proudly introduce you to the newest members of the Mistral network, whose career paths we look forward to following and supporting. 

The Future IT Entrepreneur: Azra Velić 
  • Studies Electrical Engineering and Electronics at the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, University of Burch
  • Year: 1st
  • Hometown: Breza

She believes electrical engineering has a pivotal role in improving the world and making it better for future generations. The three fields she finds most exciting are the automotive industry and electric vehicles, smart grids, and biomedical engineering. Her long-term plan is to become an entrepreneur, combining her love for both business and engineering.

Message for her peers: “Ever since I read somewhere that each of us should become the hero we’ve been looking for, I’ve been trying to live by those words every day. I believe that our greatest duty in this world is to use our full potential to do great and useful things. So, let’s become our own heroes!” 

The Persistent Mathlete: Mirnes Rakovac 
  • Studies Mathematics and Computing at the Faculty of Science in Tuzla
  • Year: 3rd 
  • Hometown: Tuzla 

This brilliant human is an interesting combination of analyst, bookworm, and art lover. In a few years, he would like to work in the field of AI and Machine Learning development. Believe it or not, his typing speed record is 115 words per minute. A very cool skill to have! 

Message for his peers: “I’d like to share my favorite quote from Bukowski because it inspires me: ‘If you’ re going to try, go all the way.” 

The Creative Scientist: Efnan Merdan 
  • Studies Computer Science at the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology 
  • Year: 3rd 
  • Hometown: Sarajevo 

Efnan is a code and technology lover but does not neglect her love for art, music, video editing, and design. Her dream job would be one that would allow for an intersection between the world of IT and the creative industry. In the future, she sees herself as a scientist. She enjoys working in large teams as she feels most inspired when she is surrounded by as many people as possible. Efnan sees challenges as strong motivators that help her grow fast.  

Message for her peers: “Allow yourself space to make mistakes. At times, you will learn more from them than from success.”  

The Web Developer in the Making: Muamer Aličković 
  • Studies Software Engineering at the Faculty of Polytechnic Sciences, Zenica 
  • Year: 2nd 
  • Hometown: Zavidovići 

Are we looking at a future web developer here? Highly possible, as Muamer favors this field over all others within the IT universe. Something that brings him much joy is activities related to the BH Futures Foundation, whether it is volunteering on projects or participating in educational events.  

Message for his peers: “Grab all the opportunities that come your way. Don’t take anything for granted as you never know when the next good opportunity will come your way.”  

The Out of the Box Thinker: Haris Peštalić 
  • Studies Informatics and Computing at the International Business and Information Academy in Tuzla (IPIA Tuzla) 
  • Year: 3rd 
  • Hometown: Gradačac 

    After graduation, his plan is to pursue a master’s degree at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Tuzla as he has enjoyed his academic path so far. Aside from volunteering in BHFF, he devotes his time to a few local charity organizations. He is fascinated by astronomy, and he invests many hours in indulging in documentaries, and books about celestial objects and phenomena of the universe.

    Message for his peers: “One quote that serves as my guide comes from the father of the digital age, Steve Jobs, and it goes ’The world is being changed by those who are crazy enough to think they can change it.’ Thus, I would say encourage yourself to be just a bit crazy and just think, well, differently.”

The Educator with Passion for Cybersecurity: Evel Ribo 
  • Studies at the Islamic Pedagogical Faculty in Zenica, Department of Islamic Religious Education 
  • Year: 4th 
  • Hometown: Zenica 

You won’t find many things about Evel online. One of the reasons behind this is his high level of awareness of cybersecurity. He recently started tapping into the field of cyberwars and security as he would like to pursue it in the future. He is a passionate volunteer and loves unconventional ways of learning new things, whether that be through a great conversation with his mentors or through interactive online platforms.

Message for his peers: “Just do your best and try to be a little bit better today than you were yesterday.”

The Hard-Working Empath: Esma Dervišević 

Studies Computer Science and Informatics at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Sarajevo
Year: 2nd
Hometown: Visoko

As an active BHFF scholar, Esma has been on several different project teams within the Foundation. She takes pride in her membership in the Student and Young Professional Leadership Committee (SYPLC). Attending webinars, meetups and workshops is her favorite way of acquiring new knowledge. Esma happily takes on projects that are beneficial for the community.

Message for her peers: “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Work hard but give yourself time to grow and figure things out as you go. However, no matter the situation you find yourself in, allow yourself to learn a lesson or two in the process.

What an inspiring squad, right? Haris, Azra, Muamer, Efnan, Mirnes, Evel, Esma – congratulations on becoming Emir Zec scholars! Welcome to the community. 

To our future scholars, keep your eyes on our social media accounts and our website in 2022 for an announcement on the next wave of Emir Zec Scholarships!