Women in STEM Scholarships You Can Apply to Right Now

Secure the bag — ace your application, impress the judges and get a full-ride scholarship.

Written by Dawn Kawamoto
Women in STEM Scholarships You Can Apply to Right Now
Image: Shutterstock
UPDATED BY
Matthew Urwin | Sep 07, 2023

Women in STEM face a number of challenges, one of them being the high cost of education. Thankfully, a number of organizations have stepped up to offer financial assistance for women pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering in mathematics.

And there’s a good reason for it. A National Science Foundation report showed women are underrepresented among people who hold degrees in the fields of physical and earth sciences, mathematics, computer science and engineering. And data from the Pew Research Center revealed women have also been underrepresented among those working in physical sciences, computing and engineering.

Scholarships for Women in STEM

  • Science Ambassador Scholarship
  • Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship
  • Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship
  • BHW Women in STEM Scholarship
  • MPower Financing Women in STEM Scholarship
  • Joseph F. Mulach, Jr. and Louisa A. Mulach Scholarship Fund
  • Zonta International Women in STEM Scholarship
  • Orchard Scholarship for Women of Color in STEM
  • Shared Opportunities Women of Color in STEM Scholarship
  • Society of Women Engineers Scholarships
  • Amazon Future Engineer Scholarship Program

Before you make an application, though, you need to find the right scholarship to apply to. That’s where this list comes in. Here’s a look at a few women in STEM scholarships and what it takes to land them.

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11 Scholarships for Women in STEM

1. Science Ambassador Scholarship

Who Can Apply

High school seniors and undergraduate students are eligible to apply for the Science Ambassador Scholarship funded by the game company Cards Against Humanity. Applications open in the fall.

How to Apply

Make an accurate, creative and clear educational video where you explain a STEM topic like a classroom lecturer that aims to teach your viewers about the topic. Novel and memorable approaches will score points with the judges, and you won’t get dinged if your video production quality is lackluster.

If you want to win, focus on effective communication and scientific accuracy, according to Maria Ranahan, director of the Science Ambassador Scholarship program. Each of these points are essential for applicants to demonstrate.

Carefully read the application requirements. The judges won’t review your video if it’s longer than three minutes, or if it’s listed as private on YouTube.

You’ll find past winners online — watch their videos to get a feel for what it takes to win. Scholarship winner Gabrielle Chang gave a quick rundown on how cybersecurity attacks occur using cross-site scripting (XSS).

Other scholarship winners, like Sala Ba covered conservation of angular momentum, while Eva Smerekanych stepped into the fourth dimension with her video. Laura Chen, another scholarship winner, peered into the properties of slug slime.

Scholarship Prize

The winner receives a four-year full-ride tuition scholarship while the runners-up earn one-time tuition stipends of $1,000 to $5,000.

 

2. Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship 

Who Can Apply

The Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship isn’t strictly limited to female applicants, but it is dedicated to supporting women in STEM fields, and has a greater number of female applicants as a result. Current high school seniors and undergraduate students of any country are welcome to apply, but they must plan to attend a full-time engineering, math, physical or biological sciences program at an accredited college within the following academic calendar year.

Former applicants and winners can apply again, but they have to write on a different subject than in their previous application. Candidates also cannot apply if they already have a bachelor’s degree.   

How to Apply

Interested students must complete the online application, summarizing their career goals and background before writing an essay of 500 to 1,000 words. For the essay, students must choose to answer one of several questions, which range from asking students to reflect on how their field can improve people’s lives to encouraging them to engage with a quote from Robert Heinlein.  

Scholarship Prize

Four winners are chosen, and each gets a $4,000 scholarship. Recipients can spend this money however they like to cover college expenses.

Further ReadingHere’s What Has to Change for Women to Thrive in STEM

 

3. Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship

Who Can Apply

The Hyundai Women in STEM scholarship is open to high school seniors and undergraduate students in the United States. 

How to Apply

Navigate to the scholarship page to begin your application. As part of the application process, write a 500-word essay on how you think STEM can be used to enhance mobility technologies and improve communities as a result. 

Scholarship Prize

Five winners are selected to receive $10,000 each. The $10,000 scholarship covers tuition and fees. For an idea of how popular the scholarship has become, over 6,000 applicants applied for the 2021 Hyundai Woman in STEM scholarships.

“This is a very competitive scholarship and there are many deserving applicants with substantial accomplishments,” said Monique Kumpis, senior group manager brand marketing and advertising for Hyundai Motor America. “The winners have not only excelled in their higher education endeavors, but they have a track record of helping their community through STEM.”

 

4. Amazon Future Engineer

Who Can Apply

The Amazon Future Engineer scholarship program is open to U.S. high school seniors who have completed, or are in the process of completing, a computer science, engineering or robotics dual-degree course. If someone is interested in applying for the scholarship program, but has not done an eligible dual-degree course, they can take an Amazon assessment to qualify.

Although women in STEM are not specifically targeted for the scholarship, gender and racially diverse applicants are eligible to apply..

How to Apply

Applications open in the fall. Applicants need to demonstrate financial need and have plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, robotics or another related field at an approved four-year college or a two-year college with the goal of transferring to a four-year college.

Some tips: Seek your teacher’s recommendation report early so they will have time to finish it before the scholarship deadline; show your passion by sharing computer science activities you’ve participated in, whether that’s hackathons or coding; explain where you want to go with your computer science degree; and research the company, since one essay question asks about Amazon’s leadership principles, while another wants you to share how you’d solve a big problem with software.

Scholarship Prize

A $40,000 scholarship spread over four years was awarded to 400 recipients in 2023 under the Amazon Future Engineer scholarship program. Scholarship winners also receive a guaranteed paid internship at Amazon after their freshman year.

 

5. BHW Women in STEM Scholarship

Who Can Apply

The BHW Group’s Women in STEM scholarship is available to any woman pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a STEM field. The application period starts in January.

How to Apply

You’ll need to write an essay between 500 to 800 words, either formal or informal, and select one of two topics. Tell BHW about your favorite app and why you like it or about the time when an app played a significant role in improving your day.

Scholarship Prize

The $3,000 award is paid directly to the scholarship recipient’s school.

 

6. MPower Financing Women in STEM Scholarship

Who Can Apply

International students or students who are protected under DACA who have been accepted into a STEM degree program at one of the hundreds of universities MPower Financing partners with can apply for the MPower MPower Financing Women in STEM Scholarship

Eligible fields of study include any branch of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, physical sciences, agricultural science, computer science, data science, engineering, or applied or theoretical mathematics. The program is open to students studying for their bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees.

How to Apply

The application includes a 200-to-500-word essay discussing the applicant’s STEM-related accomplishments and career aspirations and how they plan to “empower women in science and technology” through their work and studies. Criteria for selecting winners include “potential to make significant contributions in a STEM field that will benefit people and/or the planet” along with a “track record and/or potential as a role model and advocate for women and girls in STEM.”

Scholarship Prize

MPower awards a grand prize of $6,000 as well as $2,000 for runner-up and $1,000 for honorable mention.

 

7. Joseph F. Mulach, Jr. and Louisa A. Mulach Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply

The Joseph F. Mulach, Jr. and Louisa A. Mulach Scholarship Fund is available to current undergraduate or graduate students in biological sciences, chemistry, mathematics, physics or genetic research at one of the following schools:

  • Carlow University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Chatham University
  • Seton Hill University
  • University of Pittsburgh

Funded by The Pittsburgh Foundation, the scholarship is open to all who meet the criteria, but preference is given to women. The application period lasts from January through March.

A high percentage of the scholarship awards have been given to women since 2002 when the fund was formed, said Kitty Julian, a spokesperson for The Pittsburgh Foundation, which manages over 300 scholarship funds.

How to Apply

The application process involves submitting an academic reference letter, unofficial transcripts and an essay.

“In general, essays are what set applicants apart, because they provide a space for students to express who they truly are and the impact that scholarship funds will have on their lives,” Julian said. “Students should take full advantage of the essay prompts by offering details about themselves which can make them stand out from the competition.”

Jocelyn Paonita Pearson, founder of The Scholarship System, also provided perspective on what scholarship committees are looking for when evaluating your women in STEM scholarship applications.

“Scholarship committees want to select winners that will take the funding and make something of it,” Pearson said. “In other words, they want to know that the recipient has future plans and the grit and passion to follow through with them. This will be especially true when focusing on scholarships related to STEM.”

Scholarship Prize

The scholarship yields an average yearly award of $2,000. The Pittsburgh Foundation encourages recipients to reapply for the scholarship.

 

8. Zonta International Women in STEM Scholarship

Who Can Apply

Zonta International’s Women in STEM Scholarship is available to any woman, regardless of age and nationality. Eligible applicants must be enrolled in a STEM program at an accredited higher ed institution, “demonstrate outstanding potential” and live near a Zonta chapter.   

How to Apply 

Interested applicants must locate and contact their nearest Zonta chapter to receive details for submitting their applications. Among the list of required documents, applications must include a faculty recommendation letter, a 500-word essay on your background and how it relates to STEM, and official grade transcripts. 

Each application is reviewed by regional Zonta committees. One application per Zonta region is then sent to be evaluated by the Zonta International Headquarters team, which determines the winners from the batch of top applicants.    

Scholarship Prize

Up to 32 winners earn a scholarship of $5,000 each. This money goes toward school expenses like tuition, books and room and board. Recipients are not allowed to defer this scholarship. 

 

9. Orchard Scholarship for Women of Color in STEM

Who Can Apply

Orchard’s scholarship for women of color in STEM is broken into two segments — a fall scholarship available to undergraduate students enrolled in a STEM program and a spring scholarship available to high school seniors interested in studying in a STEM field for college. For both scholarships, students must meet enrollment and academic requirements and include their transcript in their application.    

How to Apply

Along with a transcript, each applicant must submit an essay between 400 and 800 words that explains why they’re interested in STEM and what their career goals are. 

Scholarship Prize

Orchard chooses three winners for both its fall and spring scholarships. The top applicant receives $2,500, second place receives $1,000 and third place receives $500. 

 

10. Shared Opportunities Women of Color in STEM Scholarship

Who Can Apply

Shared Opportunities is a nonprofit dedicated to creating more opportunities for women of color to break into STEM fields. The organization offers a Women of Color in STEM Scholarship open to any woman of color who is currently an undergraduate or graduate student pursuing a STEM degree at a U.S. higher ed institution.  

How to Apply

Applicants must submit a transcript and one letter of recommendation along with their application. Two essays are also part of the online application, where interested applicants can learn more details.   

Scholarship Prize

One winner is selected to receive a $2,500 scholarship, which they can use toward school-related expenses. 

 

11. Society of Women Engineer Scholarships

Who Can Apply

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) scholarships page connects students to more than 300 individual scholarships. SWE’s scholarship application is open to women and applicants who identify as women and are undergraduate or community college students planning to study engineering, engineering technology or related fields at an ABET-accredited program in the upcoming academic year. Masters and PhD candidates face similar requirements.

How to Apply

You only need to fill out one online application to automatically be placed in a pool for all of the scholarships you may be eligible for. Applicants must also include recommendation letters from a faculty member and a personal connection. SWE judges evaluate applicants on three main criteria: academic preparation, leadership and activities and, of course, an interest in STEM. 

“The academic preparation comes across through the transcript and resume, while activities and work experiences are inputs from the applicant. The interest in engineering should be apparent through the personal statement. The letters of recommendation generally supplement all categories,” said the SWE spokesperson.

Scholarship Prize

The potential awards include the $19,000 Lillian Moller Gilbreth Memorial Scholarship and the $3,000 B.J. Harrod Memorial Scholarship.

 

Resources for Finding Women in STEM Scholarships

Tracking down scholarship opportunities can be time-consuming, but university or high school departments and advisers can provide resources to steer your search in the right direction.  

“When looking for STEM scholarships, the best place to look first is your own university departments. While many colleges award scholarships along with admission, there are also many scholarships specifically for upperclassmen. The only way to learn about these is to ask your department,” Pearson said. 

You can also look to STEM-related associations or organizations for women as sources of scholarship funding for women pursuing degrees in STEM fields. Examples include the Association for Women in Science, International Technology Engineering Association and American Chemical Society.

Professional associations and organizations such as the American Society of Civil EngineersAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers, IEEE Computer SocietyAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Information Systems Security Association also award scholarship money.

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Frequently Asked Questions

It’s estimated that only 28 percent of STEM workers are female as of 2023.

No. Men make far more than women in STEM fields, with white men making around $24,000 more per year than white women. This gap grows even wider when comparing mens’ salaries to those of women of color.

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