Degree programs in disciplines like science, technology, engineering and mathematics constitute STEM degrees. It is believed that advancements in these areas are the primary drivers of economic growth for the nation. However, STEM degree curricula can be as challenging as actual careers in these fields. Subsequently, there is a high demand for people with STEM degrees and skills but seemingly a shallow pool of qualified, domestic job candidates. This situation has been the catalyst for improved instructional processes and techniques relating to science and math during early childhood development, primary school and secondary school education phases.
Students who are academically prepared have very few hurdles to overcome in their quest for STEM higher education besides the rising cost of tuition at many of America’s top universities. This challenge is being addressed by numerous public agencies, private industry businesses and non-profit philanthropic organizations that are showing their commitment to supporting STEM education by offering scholarships to students who have demonstrated academic excellence in STEM disciplines.
Here are some examples of STEM scholarships that are available to today’s college-bound students.
While many private industry firms have flexibility when it comes to hiring foreign workers with technical backgrounds, the Department of Defense (DoD) often must hire scientists and engineers who are U.S. citizens for national security reasons. This government agency offers scholarships to students who major in all types of STEM disciplines like aerospace engineering, physics, mathematics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and oceanography. Winners of the SMART scholarships receive full tuition payments, stipends and higher than average salaries as civil servants upon graduation.
Palantir Scholarship for Women in Engineering
STEM jobs are predominantly filled by male workers, but many organizations like the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) see STEM as a viable path for women to earn good incomes while performing satisfying work. Besides the numerous scholarships offered by SWE, Palantir has a significant scholarship program for women. The company is a software solutions firm that serves clients that are involved with cyber security, defense, financial capital markets, disease response and disaster preparedness. Palantir picks 10 women from around the country to receive grant funding of up to $10,000 and the possibility of internships later.
Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship
Minority students are also significantly underrepresented in STEM career fields, and some companies’ corporate responsibility campaigns aim at tackling this issue. Xerox sponsors a Technical Minority Scholarship program that awards up to $10,000 to qualifying minority candidates who major in STEM disciplines at the undergraduate level or above. STEM students must include copies of their resumes, grade point averages and contacts at their schools’ financial aid offices in their scholarship application packages.
Intertek is a global technical solutions provider to businesses in various industries like textile manufacturing, retail, food, energy and construction. The company offers test and evaluation, training, auditing, certification and sourcing services to its business clients. The backbone of the company is its skilled workforce. Intertek decided to invest in its future operations and its community through a scholarship program for students who major in chemical, civil, electrical or mechanical engineering. Besides a monetary award, Intertek scholarship winners are also offered paid summer internships at the company.
Besides scholarships, public and private organizations support the growth of STEM fields by sponsoring educational contests, exhibits and conferences for students and their parents. Some industry partners like Chevron even offer STEM related job training for people who want to continuously improve their STEM skills after graduation. Students of all backgrounds and educational levels can benefit from programs that promote the pursuit of STEM degree credentials.