The Council will award at least five $5,000 scholarships to young women, in their junior and senior years in high school, who will be pursuing a STEM career at an institution of higher education. One scholarship will be awarded in each of five geographic regions across the state. Additional scholarships may be awarded at the discretion of the Council.
“Growing the new Virginia economy depends on our ability to prepare young people to succeed in the workforce of the 21st century,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This essay contest is a great way to encourage our female students to pursue careers in the science, math, engineering and technology fields that will set the course for the global economy in the years to come. I want to thank the Virginia Council on Women for hosting this STEM essay contest and encourage Virginia’s young women to put their best ideas forward this year.”
“I am honored to be a part of the this year’s Virginia Council on Women STEM essay contest,” said Governor-Elect Northam. “Encouraging young women to pursue careers in high demand fields like science, technology, engineering and math is critical to making sure Virginia’s economy is strong and 21st century ready. I want to thank the Virginia Council on Women for their dedication to helping young women explore their passions and pursue careers in STEM fields.”
The STEM Essay Contest was launched in 2012 with 170 young women from across the Commonwealth submitting essays focusing on their vision for a future STEM education or career. In its first year, the Council raised $10,000 and made three scholarship awards. Now, in its seventh year, the Council has awarded more than $150,000 in scholarships. The Council partners with the Math Science Innovation Center, which, since its establishment in 1966, has served as a regional math and science center, to administer the contest.
Last year, the Council received more than 500 essay submissions and, thanks to the generosity of sponsors, awarded $35,000 in scholarships to high school women.
Amy Eckert, Co-Chair of the Essay Contest commented, “this contest is personal to me. I recognize the importance of financial aid. Scholarships, such as those awarded from the STEM Essay Contest, afforded me the opportunity to attend college.”
“We are excited to be kicking off our scholarship essay contest,” added Carol Rick Gibbons, Co-Chair of the Essay Contest. “It is always inspiring to see how many talented young women in Virginia are passionate about pursuing STEM careers. Working with our generous donors to help our winners achieve their education goals is extremely rewarding.”
To be eligible, one must be a female or identify as a female, reside in Virginia, be a junior or senior in high school and hold at least a 2.5 GPA. Applications and guidelines are available online.
Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on February 8, 2018. Essays will be judged by a panel of Council members and individuals who represent STEM fields. Winners will be notified byMarch 23, 2018. The scholarship awards will be presented at a reception at the Executive Mansion in Richmond, Virginia, in April 2018.
About the Virginia Council on Women
The purpose of the Virginia Council on Women is to help women reach their potential and maximize their contributions to society and the Commonwealth as wage earners and citizens. The Council has initiated several projects to meet this goal. Find more information on the Council or on available sponsorship opportunities here.