Women are clearly underrepresented in STEM professions and there are many financial challenges for the few who aspire to scientific, technical, technical or mathematical professions. For this reason, many companies and organizations offer scholarships and other financial support to help bridge this gender gap in these important areas.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 1 in 4 workers in computing and math and 1 in 6 in architecture and engineering are women. In addition, for every dollar a man makes in STEM, a woman makes 14 cents less, according to the Department of Commerce.
“Improved access to higher education opportunities is one of the best strategies for reducing the gender gap in STEM areas,” said Rachel Morford, president of the Society of Women Engineers. “Scholarships help set this positive trend in motion by funding a woman’s access to STEM courses for bachelor, master and doctoral students. Designing projects and pursuing research or internship opportunities – all of these serve to keep women in STEM areas through graduation and beyond. “
Scholarships for women in STEM
There are many grants from organizations, foundations, and companies that are available to women in STEM careers.
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a pioneer in supporting female students with an ABET-accredited (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) undergraduate or graduate program in engineering, engineering and computer science. In addition to supporting students on campus, in 2020 SWE awarded over 260 new and renewed scholarships totaling $ 1 million to female students around the world. SWE makes the application process easy, because with one application students can qualify for all applications that are relevant to them.
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Microsoft conducted a study that found that in 2016 only 7% of women got a college degree in science, technology, engineering, or math, compared to 15% of men. In addition, women are more likely to pursue science courses than engineering, mathematics or computer courses and are paid less than men. Microsoft offers scholarships for women pursuing careers in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) at the college level.
“Access to scholarships can help alleviate some of the pressures women face today in MPOWER Financing’s corporate strategy of providing scholarships to women aspiring to STEM careers. “All of this can help fill the gaps not only for women – but also for those in underrepresented communities.”
Some other scholarships for women pursuing STEM careers include: the BHW Scholarship for Women in STEM, the Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship, the Science Ambassador Scholarship funded by Cards Against Humanity, the ABC Humane Wildlife Women in STEM Academic Scholarship, the Girls Who STEM Scholarship, Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship, Hyundai Women in Stem Scholarship, and Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship Program.
Scholarships designed specifically for women aspiring to engineering careers include: The Palantir Women in Technology Scholarship, the Lynn G. Bellenger Scholarship, and the UPS Scholarship for Female Students.
The application process
Kaylin Moss, a senior at Marist College studying computer science, applied for hundreds of scholarships she found through databases, social media, or internet research. She won a Generation Google Scholarship.
Kaylin Moss, senior computer science officer at Marist College
Source: Steven Howard
Moss says the “application process was tedious” ̶ she had to answer three essay questions and submit a résumé and certificate. One of her essays was about how she founded the Marist College Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, the second of her solutions to many of the challenges underrepresented groups in the tech industry face when pursuing careers in technology, and the third illustrated their financial needs.
Applicants were judged based on their financial needs, commitment to diversity and inclusion, leadership skills, and academic performance.
Some scholarships require essay writing, while others ask for videos or artwork. And the application process is an expenditure of time. Moss recommends focusing on scholarships that best fit your communication method. So if you enjoy writing – go to the essays. If you’re a natural on camera, go to the Scholarships that ask for a video.
An applicant is more likely to win a scholarship if the applicant pool is small. Therefore, in addition to larger national scholarships, students should also apply for smaller, local scholarships to increase their chances of winning.
Olivia Haberberger, Senior Business Information Systems and Accounting Student at the University of Pittsburgh, receives the Pitt Success Grant and the Addison H. Gibson Foundation Grant.
Olivia Haberberger, Senior Business Information Systems and Accounting Student at the University of Pittsburgh
Source: Maddy Haberberger
The Pitt Success Grant was awarded as needed, so Haberberger only had to fill out the FAFSA (free student grant application) and meet a specific benchmark for the cumulative GPA each year. The Addison H. Gibson Foundation scholarship was also awarded as needed. Haberberger wrote a thank you letter to express her gratitude.
Haberberger advises other students to “stand up for yourself” and “think about how much time and energy you need to spend on the application”.
It’s important to start your research early and stay organized so as not to miss deadlines, according to Stipendien.com, a website that students can use to search for scholarships and other financial aid.
The Education Quest Foundation cautions that if you postpone it at the last minute, you can be in a rush and then risk making mistakes with your application. They advise students to always proofread applications to avoid spelling and grammatical errors. And send it in early – sometimes that can make all the difference.
Rachel Morford emphasizes that “research and preparation should be started early!” For example, if you look at everything the Society of Women Engineers has to offer, you will find that there is a main application for scholarships at the organizational level, but some of the local specialist departments also have scholarship programs that you may be questioning for too.
“Talk to your school counselors and counselors, as well as the career center at your college or university, as they are likely to know about the options available,” Morford said.
“Funding is often the biggest barrier to education, especially for international and DACA students,” said Ramani. (DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and refers to a policy aimed at protecting children who were brought to the United States at a young age from deportation.)
“If you are interested in a STEM degree, our best advice is to do your research and evaluate the funding opportunities available to you,” said Ramani. “For example, the Society of Women Engineers has a lot of support resources on their website and your university may have resources to share. Funding is usually available; it’s just about accessing and evaluating what’s right for you, when It depends on loan repayment conditions, scholarship requirements, expectations of a dual study program, etc.
MPOWER is trying to remove barriers for students, explained Ramani. “We evaluate a student’s ability to repay their loan based on a unique set of considerations on the credit side. This leads to better results and less postponement or default. On the scholarship side, we evaluate each student’s application based on their accomplishments, goals, and needs . “
Grace Ulmer, an electrical engineering and linguistics student at Purdue University and recipient of The Palantir Women in Technology Scholarship – North America during her junior year, suggests “regularly looking for scholarships to apply and when you find one If you care, put “its date on the calendar!”
Although Ulmer did not find the application process quite as rigorous, she had to answer questions about her grades and courses as well as short essay questions about why she chose her subject and why it is important for women to have these opportunities.
Grace Ulmer, an electrical engineering and linguistics student at Purdue University.
Source: Ryan Villarreal
Ulmer decided to write three short essays about projects she was passionate about and how she could overcome obstacles to complete them. She wrote about her passion for student organizations in which she is involved, including “TEDxPurdueU, which hosts an annual TED conference each year, and PurdueVotes, which focuses on voter engagement and education in our community”.
She would also recommend looking for scholarships that play what you’re good at. For example, there are some scholarships that will accept presentations or videos on any topic that interests you.
“These are great opportunities to show who you are and to give the selection committee the best possible view of you,” said Ulmer.
In addition to doing your own online research and liaising with your school’s career centers and financial aid offices, there are many organizations that can help you successfully launch a career in the STEM field. They offer everything from help with finding scholarships to career development, networking, mentoring, and breaking the barriers for women in STEM. They include:
So don’t let the cost of a STEM education or anything else put you off. Think about what you’d like to do, apply for scholarships, and start networking. There are many people and organizations ready to put you on your way to a successful career in science, technology, engineering, or math.
CNBC’s “College Voices” is a series written by CNBC interns from universities across the country about getting their college education, managing their own money, and starting their careers during these extraordinary times. Allison Martin is a two-year intern on CNBC’s product and technology team. She is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University, pursuing a dual degree in computer science with a major in data science and psychology with two minors in actuarial and mathematics, and the series is edited by Cindy Perman.