Toptal Scholarships for Women: Empowering Future Female Leaders to Change the World

Toptal® is awarding $10,000 and a year of mentorship to five future female leaders who want to change the world.

The Toptal scholarship was the best experience I ever had in the tech field. Ana Sustic, 2016 Winner — Ljubljana, Slovenia

How We’re Supporting Future Female Leaders

We’re committed to empowering the next generation of female CEOs, founders, and world leaders who want to change the world. We’d like to give you what you need to get there.

$10,000 Scholarship
Meaningful support, so you can focus on developing yourself as a future leader.
One year of Mentorship
Mentoring from a Toptal expert with the skills and knowledge you need to set you on the right path.

Meet Some of Our Mentors

How do you want to change the world?
We’ll pair you with the mentor who can coach and advise you along the way.

We are looking for you.

Toptal® is empowering the next generation of female leaders. If you want to change the world, we’ll help you to rise to achieve it.

Women Change the World

This program is for ambitious women, 16 years or older, who are passionate about making some meaningful change for a community or cause they care about.

Pursuing an Education

Brilliance and wisdom come in many forms. This program is open to women from all walks of life who are currently pursuing or aiming to pursue any type of education program.

Creating Momentum Around the World

We are awarding one prize per region to current residents of Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. See below for application timelines.

With an Idea — And a Plan

Entries will be judged on the originality of the idea, your plan for making it happen, and your passion for the cause it represents.

For full eligibility criteria and Terms and Conditions, read our Official Rules. Certain U.S. and local law restrictions apply.

Application Timelines

One prize will be awarded to current residents of each region listed below. Please refer to the dates indicated for your specific region.

Application Deadline
September 29, 2018
Winner Announced
November 7, 2018
Application Deadline
November 30, 2018
Winner Announced
January 21, 2019
Application Deadline
November 30, 2018
Winner Announced
February 4, 2019
Application Deadline
January 31, 2019
Winner Announced
March 13, 2019
Application Deadline
March 31, 2019
Winner Announced
June 7, 2019

How to Apply

Paint a picture for how you want to change the world after you complete your education. Formulate your plan for how you would accomplish this, and specify the type of mentorship that would make the biggest difference toward that outcome.

Create Your Plan
A great idea deserves a solid plan. Think through how you would want to change the world after you complete your education and what type of skilled mentorship that would make the biggest difference toward making it happen.
Write a Blog Post
Synthesize your vision and plan into a blog post of at least 1,000 words including an overview of what difference you want to make in the world and what resources you need to make it happen. Also, clarify why this change is needed and who will benefit.
Submit an Application
Fill out the application by clicking "Apply Now" below. Within your application, complete all required fields and be sure to include the link to your blog post where you overview your vision and plan.
Don't Forget the Details
It's one thing to have a great idea, it's another to figure out how to make it happen. Show us what's possible by including specific details, numbers, and your research.
Quality, not Quantity
Is your idea big enough to have a global impact, or is it intended for a specific region or community? We are open to ideas of all sizes, as long as you can demonstrate the positive impact it will have.
Be Creative
We want to see what you can come up. Charts, images, videos, and other presentation tools will help us understand the impact and breadth of your idea.
Long-Term Plan
Most positive changes in the world don't happen overnight. Think through your plan over the long term toward making the impact you want to have.
Your Ideal Mentor
Do you need a business plan? A website? Connections in a specific industry? The perfect mentor will have the skills to support and advise you.
Tell Your Story
What inspires you to take on this change you want to see in the world? Tell us why you are taking this leap, what it means to you, and where it will take you.

Our Purpose

Globally, women are still underrepresented in many fields and positions of leadership. Toptal believes in providing opportunities for exceptional women to break through barriers and accomplish extraordinary outcomes.

Elevate Visionary Minds
Investing in extraordinary people is always a winning scenario. The right opportunity for the right person can transform their future — and ours.
Empower Female Voices
When we create a platform for new voices, what will they say? We want to hear new ideas from new perspectives.
Build Momentum
This program won't solve gender or cultural inequality by itself, but we are proud to be part of a movement in the right direction.

Stories from Previous Winners

Ana Sustic; Toptal Scholarships for Women Previous Winner

2016 Winner

Ana Sustic

What have you accomplished since receiving your scholarship?
The Toptal STEM scholarship was the best experience I ever had in the tech field. As a full time mother, the scholarship allowed me to get back into programming in a supportive environment with the best possible mentor. I was working on a quality control application for a blood transfusion center. I was able to add it to my CV, and got a freelance Django junior job for six months during my sabbatical, as well as work as a volunteer/mentor for Powercoders.
How was your experience with your Toptal mentor?
I had an excellent experience with Maksim. He was a great mentor and an awesome person. It would be wonderful to get a mentor for six more months!
Hsiao Wei (Michelle) Chen; Toptal Scholarships for Women Previous Winner

2016 Winner

Hsiao Wei (Michelle) Chen

What have you accomplished since receiving your scholarship?
After receiving the scholarship from Toptal, I was able to pursue and graduate with Distinction from a Masters degree in the UK. While I was in the UK, I became a STEM ambassador, as well as a Women in Games ambassador, where I would encourage students to pursue a career in STEM and in the games industry. I was also named one of 100 Future Talent. I am currently working on my own startup, where I am building a platform for mental health awareness using video games. I am also looking into pursuing a PhD next year.
How was your experience with your Toptal mentor?
I was able to ask questions and get support. My mentor was also able to share his experiences in the games industry, that I was able to take into account and apply in my game development.
Rachell Calhoun; Toptal Scholarships for Women Previous Winner

2016 Winner

Rachell Calhoun

United StatesUS
What have you accomplished since receiving your scholarship?
During the year Toptal sponsored me, I used some of the financial support to attend my first conference. This inspired me to submit a proposal and give my first conference talk. Neither of these experiences would have happened without the sponsorship. I met a great community of developers, and was able to successfully change careers from English teacher to a full-stack Django developer. I started Django Girls Grand Rapids, became a member of the Django Software Foundation, and continued helping as a core member with the Django Girls Foundation.
How was your experience with your Toptal mentor?
My mentor was amazing. He helped me brainstorm, create a mockup and road map, and even helped me with basic deployment. I was able to learn about professional tools and processes. He also gave me tips on job searching, different material to study, and career development tools.

All Previous Winners

Rojina Bajrachary
Rojina is an incredibly motivated Python developer, entrepreneur, and mentor. She is also the co-founder of Girls in Technology, a rapidly growing community of aspiring female engineers in the Kathmandu area.
Tondi Butler
United States
Tondi is a Health IT Manager and the founder of T.E.A.M.S. Ohio, an amazing non-profit that introduces underprivileged teenagers in Cleveland/Akron to careers in STEM.
Oluwatoyin Yetunde Sanni
Oluwatoyin Yetunde Sanni is a Nigerian software developer with aspirations to become a machine learning research scientist. Oluwatoyin is a co-founder of Tech In Pink, an organization catered to diversifying the tech workforce and making university-aged women successful in programming.
Glòria Masia Muñoz
Glòria Masia Muñoz is a biomedical engineer and graduate student from Spain who aspires to become a healthcare innovator. She volunteers with the worldwide 3D printing initiative E-nabling the Future.
Anastasia Kuznetsova
Anastasia Kuznetsova is a Russian junior data scientist with plans to become a leader in the data science community. An up-and-comer in the Stockholm female technology community, Anastasia will put the scholarship toward classes in programming and data analysis.
Gabriela Mancini
Gabriela is a freelance designer and former primary school teacher. She aspires to build an educational platform to help students across Argentina learn to read and write online.
Yasett Acurana
Yasett Gisela Acurana Flores is a Bolivian software developer who is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Information Technology at Universidad de Chile. Yasett takes every chance she can to improve her engineering skills while mentoring other aspiring female engineers.
Laura García Casadiego
Laura García Casadiego is a web developer from Colombia with aspirations to become a Software Architect. Committed to bringing more diversity into technology and open source, Laura will put part of the scholarship grant towards online classes that can help her improve her programming skills, as well as saving for a Masters Degree in Software Architecture.
Giorgia Di Tommaso
Giorgia Di Tommaso is a University of Rome PhD student studying Computer Science who aspires to build a growing community of experts and spread the culture of innovation technology. In her free time, she serves as a volunteer coach where she teaches basic principles of coding to children, as well as families.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for this program?
All women, 16 and older, who have not previously been awarded a Toptal scholarship or grant. Please note that Toptal employees and freelancers, and their immediate families and households, are not eligible for the program. Please see the Official Rules for more detail.
What professions or fields of study are you looking for?
We are looking for leadership potential, no matter your experience or background. That said, we do have a commitment to supporting women from underserved areas or communities.
Does the application need to be in English?
I work for a school/university — how should I share this?
You can share this in multiple ways with your students, for example hosting this on the relevant section of your website and intranet or including it in a newsletter – it’s up to you.
Where should I publish my blog post?
You should publish your post on your personal blog. If you don’t already have one, you can set one up very easily. You can use a site, like Medium, or set up your own using a free hosting provider – there are plenty to choose from.
Can more than one person apply as a team?
No. Toptal Scholarships for Women is focused on individual women. You are more than welcome to continue collaborating with your team, but the scholarship will be awarded to a single person.
What if I have a question about the program?
If you have a question that isn’t answered in the Official Rules document (below), you can email us at
For full eligibility criteria and Terms and Conditions, read our Official Rules. Certain U.S. and local law restrictions apply.