STEM Scholarship Program

Increasing opportunity for Black students and reducing the racial and gender gaps in STEM fields.

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March 23, 2023

We’re on a mission to increase opportunity for African American students and reduce the racial and gender gaps that currently exists in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). To support black youth and veterans pursing STEM degrees through higher education, United Way of South Hampton Roads’ African American Leadership Society created the STEM Scholarship Program funded by USAA.

Program Overview

This initiative is designed to provide scholarship and academic support for African American students and veterans who aspire to earn STEM degrees and pursue careers in the STEM field. The program enables highly capable young people and veteran adult students to pursue undergraduate STEM majors and prepares them for successful careers in a variety of STEM professions. The application is open to currently enrolled college students and high school seniors and veterans entering college as first-time freshman in the fall of 2022. Each scholarship recipient will receive up to $10,000 to use toward their education. Females will account for 50% of scholarship recipients and 25% will be awarded to applicants who qualify as first-generation college students.

Driven by Data

Research shows that Black youth, particularly Black females, are underrepresented in STEM-related fields both at the academic and professional levels. In fact:

  • Black people makeup 11% of the U.S. workforce overall but only represent 9% of STEM workers
  • Among employed adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, blacks are just 7% of the STEM workforce
  • Women of color account for just 2.9% of those earning bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields
  • Only 20% of undergraduates attending four-year institutions are first-generation college students and 50% of those students are from low-income families

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify, applicants must:

  • Be African American
  • Be a citizen, legal permanent resident or national of the U.S.
  • Be a current resident of Hampton Roads (Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg)
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Have pursued a rigorous course of study in high school math and science courses, including precalculus
  • Have demonstrated unmet financial need as measured by the student’s college or university
  • Show readiness and commitment to pursuing a STEM-related degree
  • Be a currently enrolled college student or plan to be enrolled to attend an accredited U.S. college or university during the 2022 academic year as a full- or part-time, degree-seeking, first-year student
  • Complete the standard application information and assigned essay by the deadline
  • Note: African American veterans with honorable discharge pursuing a STEM related college degree for the first time are also eligible

Why Apply?

  • One-time tuition scholarship with funding up to $10,000
  • Academic support and mentoring

Application Requirements

Student application form

  • Personal essay
  • One completed reference form

Summer 2022 Application Schedule

  • May 2: Portal opens for application submissions
  • July 1: Deadline to submit an application
  • July 5 – 8: Panel review of applications
  • July 11 – August 1: Virtual interviews with select applicants
  • August 15: Awards announced
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STEM Scholarship Program
United Way of SH Roads

Increasing opportunity for Black students and reducing the racial and gender gaps in STEM fields.

Apply Now