There’s a lot of financial aid available to women pursuing STEM careers

Women are massively underrepresented in STEM professions and for the few who pursue careers in STEM fields – there are plenty of financial challenges. That’s why so many companies and organizations offer scholarships and other financial aid to help close this gender gap in these critical areas.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 in 4 people working in computer and math occupations and 1 in 6 in architecture and engineering occupations are women. What’s more, for every dollar a man earns in STEM, a woman earns 14 cents less, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Increasing access to higher education opportunities is one of the best strategies for narrowing the gender gap in STEM fields,” said Rachel Morford, president of the Society of Women Engineers. “Scholarships help start this positive trend by helping to fund women’s access to undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral STEM programs. Scholarships are also essential to help ensure success in these programs, as they give students more opportunity to focus on their class work. design projects, and pursue research or internship opportunities—all of which work to help keep women in STEM fields through graduation and beyond.”

Scholarships Available for Women in STEM

There are plenty of scholarships from organizations, institutions, and companies available to women who are pursuing careers in STEM fields.

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is a leader in supporting students whose gender identity is that of a female in pursuit of an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited undergraduate or graduate degree program in engineering, engineering technology, and computer science. . Besides providing on-campus support to students, in 2020, SWE awarded more than 260 new and renewable scholarships totaling $1 million to female students worldwide. SWE makes the application process easy, with a single application submission allowing students to qualify for all applications relevant to them.

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Microsoft conducted a study that found that only 7% of women, compared to 15% of men, graduated from college in 2016 with a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Additionally, women tend to pursue degrees rather than engineering, mathematics, or computer-based fields, and are paid less than men. Microsoft offers scholarships to women who plan to pursue a career in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) at the college level.

“Access to scholarships can help relieve some of the burden women face today, and it is essential that they receive an education that gives them the same seat at the table as their male colleagues,” said Sacha Ramani, Associate Director. The company’s strategy is in MPOWER Financing, which offers scholarships to women seeking careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. “All of this can help close the gaps not just for women – but in underrepresented societies.”

Some of the other scholarships for women pursuing careers in STEM fields include: BHW Scholarship for Women in STEM, Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship, Cards Against Humanity-funded Science Ambassador Scholarship, ABC Humane Wildlife Women in STEM Academic Scholarship, Girls Scholarship Who STEM, Adobe Research Women in-Technology Scholarship, Hyundai Women in Stem Scholarship, Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship Program.

Scholarships for women pursuing engineering careers include: Palantir Women in Technology Scholarship, Lynn G. Bellenger Scholarship and UPS Scholarship for Female Students.

Application process

Kaylin Moss, a Marist student studying computer science, has applied to hundreds of scholarships, which she has found through databases, social media, or Internet searches. I got the Generation Google Scholarship.

Kaelen Moss, Computer Science Expert at Marist College

Source: Stephen Howard

Moss says the “application process was a long one” — she had to answer three essay questions and send in a resume and academic transcript. One of her articles was about how she founded the Marist College chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, the second was about her proposed solutions to the many challenges faced by underrepresented groups in technology when seeking jobs in technology and the third illustrated their financial need.

Applicants were judged on their financial needs, commitment to diversity, inclusion, leadership, and academic performance.

Some scholarships require that you write articles, while others require videos or artwork. The application process is a time commitment. Moss’ advice is to focus on the scholarships that best match your method of communication. So, if you love to write – go to the articles. If you are a normal person in front of the 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, so students should apply to smaller local scholarships as well as larger national scholarships to increase their chances of winning.

Olivia Haberberger, a senior student in business information systems and accounting at the University of Pittsburgh, is a recipient of a Pitt Success Grant and an Addison H. Gibson Foundation grant.

Olivia Haberberger, a senior student in business information systems and accounting at the University of Pittsburgh

Source: Maddy Haberberger

The Pitt Success Grant was awarded based on need, so every hamburger had to do to receive a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) was filled out each year and met a certain GPA standard. The Addison H. Gibson Foundation Scholarship was also offered based on need. Haberberger wrote a thank you letter to express her gratitude.

Strategies for success

Haberberger’s advice to other students is to “defend yourself” and “think about how much time and energy you should devote to applying.”

It’s important to start your search early and stay organized so you don’t miss deadlines, according to, a site where students can search for scholarships and other financial aid.

The Education Quest Foundation warns that procrastination can cause you to rush in at the last minute and then risk making mistakes with your application. Students are always advised to review applications to reduce spelling and grammatical errors. And send it in early – sometimes this can make all the difference.

Rachel Morford emphasizes that you should “start looking and prepare early!” For example, if you search all that the Society of Women Engineers has to offer, you will find that there is a major application for scholarships awarded at the organizational level but many local professional departments also have scholarship programs for which you may be eligible as well.

“Speak with your school counselors and advisors, as well as the career center at your college or university because they are more likely to know what opportunities are available,” Morford said.

“Finance is often the biggest barrier to education, especially for international students and DACA students,” Ramani explained. (DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, referring to the policy to protect children brought to the United States when they were young from deportation.)

“If you are interested in earning a STEM degree, the greatest advice we can give is to do your research and evaluate your options when it comes to funding,” Ramani said. “For example, the Society of Women Engineers has a lot of help resources on their site, and your university may have resources they can share. Funding is usually available; it is just a matter of getting to it and assessing what is right for you when it comes to loan repayment terms, scholarship requirements, work-study expectations, etc. that “

Ramani explained that MPOWER is trying to help remove barriers for students. “We assess a student’s ability to repay their loan through a unique set of considerations on the lending side. This leads to better outcomes and fewer deferrals or defaults. On the scholarship side, we assess each student’s application against their accomplishments, goals, and needs.”

Grace Olmer, a senior student in Electrical Engineering and Linguistics at Purdue University and a Palantir Women in Technology – North America Scholarship recipient during her junior year, suggests, “Regularly look for scholarships to apply to, and when you find one that interests you, put its date on the calendar!”

Although Olmer found the application process not as rigorous as expected, she had to answer questions about her grades and courses as well as short essay questions about why she chose the discipline and why it was so important for women to have these opportunities.

Grace Olmer, an electrical engineering and linguistics student at Purdue University.

Source: Ryan Villarreal

Olmer decided to write three short articles about the projects she was passionate about and how she overcame obstacles to complete them. She wrote of her passion for student organizations that she is part of “TEDxPurdueU, which hosts an annual TED Conference each year, and PurdueVotes, which focuses on voter engagement and education in our community.”

She will also recommend looking for scholarships that play a good role in what you are good at. For example, there are some scholarships that accept presentations or videos on any topic you are interested in.

“These are great options to show who you are and give the selection committee your best view,” Olmer said.

In addition to doing your own research online and networking with your school’s career centers and financial aid offices, there are many organizations that aim to help you launch your career successfully in STEM. They offer everything from help with finding scholarships to career development, networking, mentorship and breaking down barriers for women in STEM fields. They include:

So, don’t let the cost of a STEM education or anything else deter you. Find out what you want to do, apply for scholarships and start networking. There are plenty of people and organizations willing to help you get on the right track to a successful career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

CNBC channelCollege Voices″ is a series written by CNBC trainees from universities across the country about getting their college education, managing their own money, and launching their careers during these extraordinary times. Alison Martin He is a two-term intern with CNBC’s Product and Technology team. She is an undergraduate at Virginia Commonwealth University, pursuing a dual degree program in Computer Science with a concentration in Data Science and Psychology with a minor in Actuarial Science and Mathematics. The series is edited by Cindy Berman.


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