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Meet Mira Costa's $90,000 Kid

May 11, 2023 09:53PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Dylan Iskandar has won both a $50,000 scholarship from Edison and a $40,000 scholarship from Amazon.

With college decisions and scholarship award season at its peak, one Manhattan Beach student has won not one but two of the biggest awards of the year. 

Mira Costa senior Dylan Iskandar has won both a $50,000 STEM scholarship from Edison and a $40,000 "Future Engineer" scholarship from Amazon for when he heads off to Stanford in the fall.

Iskandar is no stranger to big awards: He was awarded Grand Prize Winner of Google Code-in 2019, and founded RGBsec, the #1 ranked HS cybersecurity team in the US (2020). During the pandemic, he and his brother Winston developed GroceryBuddies, an iOS app, for which they placed first in the Congressional App Challenge and had their app featured in the Capitol Building.

In his "spare time," he leads Mathisi-fy, a nonprofit aimed at empowering underserved youth in the field of technology; mentors a robotics program for local elementary school students; and is a classical pianist. He was also on one of the top two teams for the Mira Costa Scholar Quiz in March.

(Although winning both mega-scholarships is unusual, this is actually the second year in a row that a Mira Costa student has won both scholarships. Xavier Dargan from the class of 2022 won both scholarships last spring before heading off to Brown University.)

Manhattan Beach News had a chance to chat with Iskandar as he prepared to wrap up his senior year at Costa.

MB News: Both of the big scholarships that you have won - Edison and Amazon - are incredibly competitive scholarships. How does it feel to be recognized with these big prizes? 

Iskandar: It’s very rewarding. For most of my life, I’ve been working "behind the scenes" on my projects, so to be recognized with such prestigious awards is truly humbling. Winning the Edison and Amazon scholarships has given me a great sense of validation for all the effort that I’ve put into my academic pursuits. It’s like practicing piano for hours every day, honing your skills and mastering your craft, and finally getting the chance to perform on a big stage and feeling the adrenaline of the audience. These opportunities have opened up many doors for me and I'm excited to see where my journey takes me next.

MB News: What role did your family or teachers play in helping you succeed?

Iskandar: I owe all of my success to my family, teachers, and friends who have played a vital role in shaping my academic and personal journey. My family has been a constant source of guidance and encouragement, always providing me with the resources I need to succeed. My teachers have inspired me with their enthusiasm and expertise, and have challenged me to think critically and creatively. My friends have motivated me to strive for excellence and have given me the confidence to bounce back, even when I’ve faced setbacks. I appreciate their constant support in my life, and with these scholarships, I aspire to make a positive impact in the lives of others, just as they have done for me.

MB News: What will you look back on as some of the highlights during your time at MCHS?

Iskandar: During my time at MCHS, spending time with friends has been some of the most memorable highlights of my high school experience. Whether it was traveling to badminton tournaments with my team, working on projects together in the computer science club, or simply spending time together during lunch breaks, I’m grateful for all of the memories I have with my friends. 

MB News: What do you plan to do over the summer?

Iskandar: I’m going to be interning at a Wall Street Quant Firm in New York City and attending several AI conferences in the Bay Area. I’ll also be taking care of my grandparents and spending time with my friends and family before I’m off to college.

MB News: So after college, what do you picture as your dream job?

Iskandar: In true Stanford fashion, I hope to create a tech startup that uses artificial intelligence to solve real-world problems and improve people’s lives. I have always been interested in the potential of AI to enhance human capabilities and creativity, and I want to be part of the innovation that drives this field forward. I think a tech startup would give me the opportunity to work with talented people while making a positive impact on society by delivering solutions that are accessible, affordable, and beneficial.

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