Women in STEM: The Key to Getting These 10 Scholarships

Secure the bag — ace your application, impress the judges and get a full-ride scholarship.
Dawn Kawamoto
Staff Reporter
October 5, 2021
Updated: October 6, 2021
Dawn Kawamoto
Staff Reporter
October 5, 2021
Updated: October 6, 2021

College is expensive but a number of organizations offer financial assistance to women when pursuing a STEM degree. They’re ponying up big bucks — some in the tens of thousands of dollars.

And there’s a good reason for it. Women represent only 27 percent of STEM workers, even though nearly half of the U.S. workforce is composed of women, according to 2019 US Census figures.

How to Show Your Passion for STEM in Your Scholarship Essay

  • Share past experiences that propelled you into choosing a STEM career path
  • Highlight job shadowing or intern experience with STEM professionals or companies
  • Get involved in organizations related to STEM
  • Participate in community service as it relates to STEM
  • Paint a well-round and tangible picture of your goals

“We wanted to help bring more great female students to Adobe and support them in their career development,” said Mira Dontcheva, creator of the Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship program and a principal scientist and research manager at Adobe Research. “We have evidence of the program’s success as some previous scholars began working at Adobe, and other undergraduate scholarship recipients have pursued graduate studies.”

There are a number of places offering women in STEM scholarships worth thousands, such as Adobe, Hyundai and top tech colleges. Here’s a look at 10 women in STEM scholarships and what it takes to land them.

 

Science Ambassador Scholarship

A full-ride scholarship
Deadline: December 13, 2021

Your investment into making a three minute video can turn into a four-year, tuition-free college ride with the Science Ambassador Scholarship that is offered by Cards Against Humanity, a Chicago-based game company.

High school seniors and women who are undergraduate students are eligible to apply and the December 13 deadline is fast approaching to select a 2022 Science Ambassador Scholarship winner.

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, she stressed. The judges won’t review your video if it’s longer than 3 minutes, or if it’s listed as private on YouTube, Ranahan warned.

You’ll find past winners online — watch their videos get a feel for what it takes to win. This year’s 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.

Each year, approximately 1,200 to 1,700 women apply for the Science Ambassador Scholarship, Ranahan said. But only one four-year full-ride tuition scholarship is given out, along with one-time tuition stipends of $1,000 to $2,500 for the runners-up. 

 

Adobe Research Women-in-Tech Scholarship

$10,000 tuition, expenses
Deadline: TBD in 2022

Undergraduates in their second year or higher, as well as those seeking a master’s degree, in computer science, computer engineering, or a related technical field at a North American university are eligible to apply to the Adobe Research Women-In-Technology Scholarship. Although the 2022 application period has ended, the next round is expected to open next year.

Judges review applications looking at your academic record, personal essay and three letters of reference. In the essay, they’ll want to know what spurred your interest in the STEM field you’ll be studying and what aspirations you have after you receive your degree. 

“Our goal is to understand the whole person, including challenges they’ve faced in their field of study and how they’ve overcome them. We also look at how applicants have assumed leadership roles in their technical community, university or broader community,” Dontcheva said.

But strong letters of recommendations from your mentors or advisors hold the greatest edge in winning the scholarship, Dontcheva revealed. That’s because they help the judging committee understand an applicant’s accomplishments in their field of study, she added.

This year, the company awarded 15 Adobe Research Women-In-Technology Scholarships, which covers tuition and fees, and other education-related expenses like books, materials, campus housing and food plans.

 

Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship

$10,000 tuition and fees
Deadline: Mid-year 2022

The Hyundai Women in STEM scholarship is open to high school seniors and undergraduate students in the U.S. The next round of applications is expected to open in early 2022 with a deadline sometime in mid-year, said Monique Kumpis, senior group manager brand marketing and advertising for Hyundai Motor America in Fountain Valley, California. The $10,000 scholarship covers tuition and fees.

As part of the application process, write a 500-word essay on how your present and future achievements in your STEM field will help to improve the lives of others. Judges will give 50 percent weight to the thoughtfulness of your essay, 30 percent weight to the relevance of the question asked, 15 percent for the quality of the composition and 5 percent for grammatical accuracy.

“This is a very competitive scholarship and there are many deserving applicants with substantial accomplishments. The winners have not only excelled in their higher education endeavors, but they have a track record of helping their community through STEM,” Kumpis said.

Over 6,000 applicants applied for the 2021 Hyundai Woman in STEM scholarships, but only five winners are selected, Kumpis noted.

Further ReadingHarvard Asks Congress to Join AI Bootcamp

 

VMware Achieve Scholarship

$10,000 tuition and fees
Deadline: Summer 2022

The application process for the $10,000 VMware Achieve Scholarship is expected to reopen in early 2022 with the deadline in the summer. 

You need to be a computer science major (or related) and have a GPA of 3.4 or above to be eligible to apply. The judges consider your academic and community achievements, as well as demonstrating leadership through extracurricular activities and community initiatives, said Katherine Nguyen, university talent experience program manager at VMware, based in Palo Alto, California.

“The most powerful thing a student can do in their application to increase their odds in being selected is to write a strong essay that elaborates how their experiences reflect both leadership and genuine passion for technology,” Nguyen said. “Top applicants often share a unique narrative on how technology has impacted them and why they stand out from others.”

Typically, the VMware Achieve Scholarship receives 400 to 1,000 applications, but only 100 to 300 fully complete the application process. From there, one scholarship winner is selected for the $10,000 award, which covers tuition and fees, and consideration for a potential internship or new graduate hiring if eligible.

 

Amazon Future Engineer

$40,000 tuition, internship
Deadline: February 2022

A hefty $40,000 scholarship spread over four years is awarded to 100 recipients each year under the Amazon Future Engineer scholarship program. Scholarship winners also receive a guaranteed paid internship at Amazon after their freshman year.

3 Tips From Amazon to Ace the Application

  • Start Early. Seek your teacher’s recommendation report early so they will have time to finish it before the scholarship deadline.
  • Show your computer science passion. Share computer science activities you’ve participated in from hackathons to receiving a prize for coding. Explain where you want to go with your computer science degree.
  • Research Amazon. One essay question asks about Amazon’s leadership principles, while another wants you to share how you’d solve a big problem with software.

Although women in STEM are not specifically targeted for the scholarship, gender and racially diverse applicants are eligible to apply and more than half of the 2021 scholarship recipients were women, according to a spokesperson for Amazon.

 

Women in STEM Scholarship

$3,000 tuition
Deadline: April 15, 2022

Mobile App and Web development company The BHW Group in Austin, Texas, is offering its annual $3,000 Women in STEM scholarship beginning in January with the applications closing on April 15. The scholarship is paid directly to the school.

The scholarship is open to college-bound students, undergraduates and those seeking a masters degree. 

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.

 

Society of Women Engineer Scholarships

Tight on time to hunt for women in STEM scholarships? Then you may want to check out the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) scholarships page.

SWE offers more than 100 individual scholarships on its site. You only need to fill out one application to automatically be placed in a pool for all of these applications that you may be eligible for. The applications include the $17,000 Lillian Moller Gilbreth Memorial Scholarship to the $3,000 B.J. Harrod Memorial Scholarship.

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, technology or computing at an ABET-accredited program in the upcoming academic year. Masters and PhD candidates face similar requirements.

SWE judges evaluate applicants on three main criteria: academic preparation, leadership/activities and of course an interest in STEM, an SWE spokesperson said. 

“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.

In the past five years, SWE has issued $4.5 million in awards across more than 1,200 scholarships. 

It’s 2022-23 academic year scholarships will open for all upperclass students on December 1, 2021, and close on February 15, 2022. For incoming freshmen, the SWE application opens on March 1, 2022, and closes May 2, 2022.

More on ScholarshipsHow to Land Bootcamp Scholarships for Women in Tech

 

STEM Scholarships at Top Engineering Colleges

“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,” said Jocelyn Paonita Pearson, founder of The Scholarship System

6 Women in STEM Scholarship Resources

  • University departments
  • Local organizations based on hometown
  • Local organizations based on college town
  • STEM-related associations
  • Women-related associations
  • Career-related associations

Below are several women in STEM scholarships listed at top engineering colleges

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 

AAUW grant of $10,000 to $35,000 is open to women scholars who are conducting basic research in engineering, medicine, physical or biological sciences. The goal of this grant is to help women so they can ultimately produce scholarly publications. The application deadline December 1, 2021. And the primary criteria to receive one of these grants is based on scholarly excellence.

University of California–Berkeley

MPower Financing Women in STEM Scholarship issues a grand prize of $3,000 to the winning international or DACA undergraduate or graduate student who is attending a US or Canadian college or university. The deadline to apply is January 15. The judges will focus on women who will use their STEM degree to benefit society and the plant, as well as serve as role models and advocates for women in STEM.

Carnegie Mellon University

Joseph F. Mulach, Jr. and Louisa A. Mulach Scholarship Fund awards $2,000 STEM scholarships each year to approximately four students who are pursuing a degree in biological sciences, chemistry, mathematics, physics or genetic research at select Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, universities, including Carnegie Mellon University. 

You can submit your application beginning November 15 and the deadline to apply is March 31. Typically, 20 applications are submitted each year for the four scholarships. 

Although the scholarship is open to all who meet the criteria, preference will be given to women. 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, including the Joseph F. Mulach, Jr., and Louisa A. Mulach Scholarship Fund.

Your essay is key to winning the Mulach scholarship.

“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.”

Pearson 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. 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,” Pearson said.

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