Dora and Sanjay Singh’s pose with scholarship recipients

Kevin Mooney wants to work with artificial intelligence one day. Or he might pursue his passion for the arts and create software for music producers.

Either way, the UAB senior—a computer science major and music technology minor—is excited to explore his options. And as one of the first recipients of the Dora and Sanjay Singh Scholarship for Computer Science, he says he is free to do just that.

“Receiving this scholarship gives me the opportunity to focus on what I want to do in the future—whether that’s working with artificial intelligence or in music or another direction—instead of having to worry about financial stuff,” explains Mooney, who is from Mobile, Alabama.

That’s exactly why the Singhs established the scholarship, says Sanjay Singh, Ph.D., a Birmingham technology entrepreneur and former Collat School of Business faculty member. “Without education, nothing really matters,” he says. “The surest pathway for success is the foundation of knowledge. For students who want to go to school but don’t have the money, I want to help them see a pathway.”

Birmingham also benefits through the development of a diverse, skilled workforce ready to help fuel the economy’s growth, Singh adds. “The more I have gotten involved with the Birmingham community, the tech scene, and with UAB, it has become apparent that you cannot build an entrepreneurial ecosystem without having a strong computer science force.”

Singh and his wife, Dora, established the scholarship in 2019 as part of UAB’s Blazing the Way Scholarship Match Initiative—which helps donors’ gifts go farther. Through the initiative, UAB will match, dollar for dollar, annual scholarships established by donors. For endowed scholarships, UAB will provide the spendable portion of the payout for five years to allow the scholarship to be awarded immediately while the full pledge builds. Donors also can name scholarships and establish additional criteria, such as need or participation in a particular course of study. The Singhs’ scholarship gives preference to students who are graduates of Birmingham City Schools, minorities, or first-generation students.

Sanjay Singh, who is from India, initially was a college drop-out. But he eventually earned his M.B.A. from Georgia College and State University and a Ph.D. in information technology and strategic management from the University of Georgia. Scholarships played a key role in his education, he says. “So often, we think about the ideal situation—that every kid is going to go to school and won’t have to worry about money,” Singh explains. “Whether it’s financial aid, family support, or a scholarship—every bit helps. I have seen firsthand what it means to get the right education.”

Singh cofounded Computer Technology Services in the late 1990s and served as its vice president for community relations until 2017. He has held appointments in the Collat School of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Computer Science, and the School of Engineering. Currently he serves on the board of directors for Pack Health, which is a health education and advising start-up, and CS Equities.

“Where he came from to what he’s doing today—that’s very inspiring,” says Peyton Bean, a freshman computer science major from Montgomery, Alabama, who also received the Singhs’ scholarship. “When someone sees the potential in you and thinks you’ll go far, it makes you want to work even harder to prove them right. You know you can do it, and they know it, too.”

This scholarship isn’t the first investment the Singhs have made in UAB. The couple created a research fellowship for Collat School of Business faculty. They also established another scholarship for students interested in education abroad. For both scholarships, UAB’s promise to match donors’ investments helped them make the decision to give. The match “makes it more meaningful,” Sanjay Singh explains. “It shows that UAB is already giving to its students.”

Yuliang Zheng, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Computer Science, says the scholarship has begun to pay dividends. “With this support, our students will be able to fully focus on learning the skills that will empower them to join the high-tech workforce to propel our region's economy to the next level,” he says. “We are so appreciative of the Singhs for their commitment to our department and to our students, as well as to ensuring the economic vitality of our city and state.”

More Impact Stories

  • No Home for Hunger

    UAB’s Blazer Kitchen provides food and compassion to Blazers in need.

    Some of the most interesting gifts to UAB

    When it came to giving, these donors thought outside the box.

    8 Things to Know About Blazer Kitchen

    As the university's annual Blazers Against Hunger giving event approaches, get a better idea of the role Blazer Kitchen plays in fighting food insecurity on campus

    When Uncertainty About the Future Includes Your Next Meal

    More than one-third of UAB students said they were food insecure in a 2018 survey. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has likely increased that number as the university's Blazers Against Hunger online giving event approaches.

    Fast Slow Motion endows new scholarship in Computer Science

    Computer Science student Isabelle Brown has been selected as the first recipient of the Fast Slow Motion Endowed Scholarship in Computer Science for the 2020-2021 academic year.

    Empowering Students, Powering the Economy

    Kevin Mooney wants to work with artificial intelligence one day. Or he might pursue his passion for the arts and create software for music producers.

  • Fanning the Flame on Giving Day

    Fanning the Flame on Giving Day

    Donors lit a fire beneath several UAB projects with passion on the third annual UAB Giving Day, held April 12. Altogether, 792 donors gave $117,989 to 27 projects.

    Building Blocks

    Building Blocks

    Take a tour of three new landmark buildings rising on campus, and meet a few of the community leaders whose generosity is providing the blueprints for a brighter future.

  • Commitment to Innovation and Entrepreneurship

    Commitment to Innovation and Entrepreneurship

    A new endowed chair is guiding innovation and entrepreneurship at UAB.

    Education through Community Care

    Education through Community Care

    The Community Counseling Clinic was created to meet the needs of an underserved population, says Sean Hall, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB School of Education.

    A Return on Investment

    A Return on Investment

    If you have ever wondered about the return on investment from a gift to research, you should meet Talene Yacoubian, M.D., Ph.D.

    Budgeting for Better Health

    Budgeting for Better Health

    The first endowed chair in the UAB School of Public Health may help answer a question being asked across America: What is the best way to allocate scarce resources to improve our health and well-being?

    An Investment to End Diabetes

    An Investment to End Diabetes

    Faculty researchers at the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center are breaking new ground in understanding diabetes causes and mechanisms.

    The Power of Endowment: A Conversation with President Ray Watts

    The Power of Endowment: A Conversation with President Ray Watts

    Simply put, endowments are the key to attracting and keeping top faculty, says UAB President Ray L. Watts, M.D. Read a conversation with Watts that gives insight to why endowments are crucial.

  • Tom Brannan, UAB donors honored at National Philanthropy Day

    Tom Brannan, UAB donors honored at National Philanthropy Day

    The UAB Advancement team has accomplished great things over the years, including raising more than $1 billion in The Campaign for UAB, a 10-year fundraising effort that wrapped up in 2018.

    Lighting the Way to a Brighter Future

    Lighting the Way to a Brighter Future

    On his 49th birthday, Dwayne Chatoney was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. He received treatment at a hospital near his home in Lake Charles, Louisiana. But nine months later, the cancer returned, this time at stage 4. And this time, the hospital told him there was nothing they could do.

    The Gift That Changed Everything: Healthcare Leadership Academy

    The Gift That Changed Everything: Healthcare Leadership Academy

    Ten years ago, an investment in the future of UAB began shaping the future of patient care.

    Better Understanding LGBTQ Health

    Better Understanding LGBTQ Health

    Individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) face troubling health disparities. UAB faculty, staff, researchers, community members, and allies are rallying support for an endowed chair for LGBTQ health studies in the School of Public Health.

    Care for the Caregivers

    Care for the Caregivers

    Many physicians experience work-related burnout, but it's a problem that may have solutions. Birmingham-based ProAssurance Corporation established a faculty position in the UAB School of Medicine that will investigate and promote physician wellness.

  • Jumps for Joy

    Jumps for Joy

    It’s tough to say who was more excited at the unveiling of the newly renovated locker room for UAB women’s basketball: the student-athletes or donors Bill and Jackie Tevendale and Lois Luther.

    Passing the Ball (and Baton) to the Next Generation

    Passing the Ball (and Baton) to the Next Generation

    Tammi Thomas spent four years running for the UAB cross country and track teams on an athletic scholarship, and she never slowed down.

    Winners All Around

    Winners All Around

    While the UAB Blazers football team was shattering records in its triumphant comeback season, Blazer Boosters was breaking new ground itself, surpassing $9.5 million in contributions to the UAB Athletics Foundation.