EECS sophomore Alex Montanez is part of the inaugural class of Hallac Scholars. The program, sponsored by the global asset management firm BlackRock, combines scholarship, mentorship and internship to help students learn how engineers can use their skills to develop innovative tech for delivering financial services. Although Montanez was fascinated by computers, his junior high and high school didn’t offer any computer science or engineering classes, and had no computer club. He had to learn almost everything on his own. As a BlackRock intern next summer, he’ll serve on the science team that works on Aladdin as well as on developing apps used by the firm’s clients. “I wanted to know how computers and electronics worked because they were everywhere. I’m interested in the impact computers have in helping people,” he says.