While gender equality has gained more awareness, women still tend to be underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. As the gender gap begins to decrease in these fields, however, organizations are recruiting women for STEM positions more than ever before. Learn more about STEM graduate degree programs, scholarships and career options.
I believe the future for women and STEM is bright, and getting brighter all the time. There is so many more resources, outreach and support for women in STEM and it is losing its stigma as a nerdy or masculine thing to do.Felicia Marshall, engineering manager
Covering the costs associated with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) is can be a significant financial investment. However, there are a variety of funding opportunities for STEM graduate students that can help. Learn more in the scholarships and grants options below.
Association for Women Geoscientists Chrysalis Scholarship
The Chrysalis Scholarship provides assistance to women who are returning to their postgraduate education to complete a degree in the geosciences. Award recipients receive financial aid of up to $2,000 and a one-year student membership with the Association for Women Geoscientists.
Organization for Women in Science in the Developing World
The fellowship program offered by the Organization for Women in Science in the Developing World (OWSDW) is for female students from Sub-Saharan Africa or Least Developed Countries (LDC) who are pursuing a doctorate degree. The award amount varies but will be offered for up to three years and will cover the student’s travel costs, monthly accommodation and food expenses, plus other educational and professional costs.
Clare Boothe Luce Program Scholarships
The scholarship award benefits recipients who are starting out on their graduate studies in science, mathematics, and engineering. Grants are awarded to four-year degree granting institutions instead of individuals. Preference is given to Catholic institutions with strong science programs, especially ones who support women in the physical science and engineering fields.
Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program
This scholarship program provides support for women and minority PhD students who are pursuing graduate degrees in oceanography, marine biology, maritime archaeology, and other sciences and engineering fields involving ocean and coastal locations. Recipients receive support up to $42,000 per year, plus $10,000 of support for a four- to six-week program collaboration at a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) facility.
NASA Harriett G. Jenkins Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Project
Offered through the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation and created in honor of Harriett G. Jenkins, this fellowship offers support to women and minorities who are full-time graduate students in the STEM disciplines. Awards include $24,000 annually for PhD fellows; $18,000 annually for master’s fellows; $8,500 tuition offset; and $8,000 for a research stipend.
Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship
The Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship is offered through The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology and is awarded to women pursuing a graduate degree in various zoology disciplines.
M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship
After the death of M. Hildred Blewett in 2004, this fellowship was established at her bequest. The fellowship allows women pursuing their PhD’s in physics to return to their research after having to interrupt. Applicants must have begun their PhD studies to be considered.
Warren/Sanders/McNaughton Oceanographic Scholarship
This scholarship is awarded to women graduate students pursuing a degree in oceanography or related fields. There is no formal application; applicants should write a letter including two letters of recommendation, two references, transcripts, a statement of objectives and interest, and a description of the planned program at the educational institution the student will be attending. Recipients receive $1,500 per year, and may petition for continued support each year.
Sarah Bradley Tyson Fellowship
This scholarship is awarded to women graduate students pursuing a degree in agriculture, horticulture, and related fields. Awards have been made in recognition of leadership in cooperative extension work and initiative in scientific research.
L’Oreal USA/UNESCO “For Women in Science” Fellowship Programs
Five female postdoctoral scientists are eligible to receive grants from the L’Oreal USA For Women in Science fellowship program of $60,000 each “for their contributions to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields and commitment to serving as role models for younger generations.”
Women’s Fellowship Program - Microsoft
The Microsoft Research Women’s Fellowship provides scholarships to women pursuing a PhD in computer science, electrical engineering, or mathematics at a select list of academic universities. For 2016-17, nine universities are participating in the program, and each will present one woman with a $20,000 award, $18,000 of which will be used toward tuition and $2,000 of which will be used toward travel expenses to a conference in the recipient’s field of study.
Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship supports women in computing and technology and encourages women to excel and “become active role models and leaders in the field.” A strong academic background and demonstrated leadership are highly considered. Recipients will receive a $10,000 award for the academic year, and all recipients and finalists will be invited to attend a retreat at Google, including workshops, speakers, panelists, breakout sessions, and social activities scheduled over a couple days.
Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT)
The Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT) foundation scholarships are awarded annually to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students pursuing degrees in the technology field. All awards are given to recipients in yearly installments of $5,000 and can be renewed for up to two or three years, depending on the scholarship. MCWT also awards three women studying technology related subjects with laptop computers.
Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS)
Third or fourth year undergraduate students and master’s program students studying information security at accredited U.S. schools are eligible for awards through Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS). Possible fields of study include (but are not limited to) software security, network security, cybersecurity and forensics. Applicants must provide school transcripts, a resume, letters of recommendation, and an essay explaining their interest in the field to be considered for these awards.
The Science, Mathematics, And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program awards graduate students between $25,000 and $38,000, depending on the degree pursuing. Graduate applicants must submit their GRE scores and be currently enrolled or accepted at a regionally accredited institution.
GEM Fellowship Program
GEM Fellowship Program provides three fellowship programs to graduate and post-graduate students to promote recruitment, retention, and professional development within the STEM fields. Eligible disciplines include (but are not limited to) information systems, computer science, and other fields relating to science and engineering. Women in underrepresented groups or minorities receive extra consideration. Applicants must have a SWE membership and U.S. citizenship to be eligible.
Women in Technology Scholarships
Women pursuing a career in computer science, information technology, management information systems, computer engineering, or other technology-related fields can apply for WITS and receive up to $2,500 to help with their educational costs. Submissions are due by March 7, 2016.
Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security
SWSIS awards are funded by Applied Computer Security Associates, a Maryland non-profit. Women in master’s programs studying information security (see website for constituted topic areas) should apply by February 25. Recipients receive funding to their university account to pay for tuition, books, and other educational expenses. Winners will also be invited to attend security conferences held by ACSA and HP with all expenses paid, as well as have mentoring and internship opportunities.
Association for Women in Computing Scholarship Fund
Established in 2003, the Association for Women in Computing (AWC) Scholarship Fund is open to two female students participating in a higher education program in a computer or technology-related field in Washtenaw County, Michigan. The goal of the program “is to increase the number and influence of women in technology and computing and to encourage interest among women” in technology fields.
Society for Women Engineers
Society for Women Engineers (SWE) scholarship programs provide financial assistance for women in graduate programs preparing for careers in engineering, engineering technology, and computer science. Both PhD and master’s students must be enrolled or accepted at a school with ABET-accredited programs. Recipients are announced in September, and scholarships are awarded in May.
Amelia Earhart Fellowship
The Amelia Earhart Fellowship aims to assist women pursuing their PhD or other doctoral degrees in aerospace-related sciences or aerospace-related engineering. Thirty-five women are chosen for the fellowship each year. Applications must be submitted or postmarked by November 15th.
The Susan E. Stutz-McDonald Scholarship Foundation Scholarship
Each year, Society for Women Engineers awards two women with the $2,500 Susan E. Stutz-McDonald Scholarship Foundation Scholarship. U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required for eligibility. Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or environmental engineering, and be pursuing a graduate degree with an emphasis in water and/or wastewater treatment preferred. The scholarship includes $250 for travel to Society for Women Engineers Annual Conference.
Cummins Inc. Scholarship
The Cummins Inc. Scholarship awards $1,000 each to two women studying materials science, engineering, and metallurgy, electrical engineering/electronics, engineering/technology, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, or computer science/data processing. Preference is given to minorities and underrepresented groups and those willing to work an internship.
AT&T Labs Fellowship Program
Designed to expand the role of women and minorities in the computing or communications fields, the ALFP awards three-year fellowships to deserving candidates for pursuing a PhD in computer science, math, statistics, electrical engineering, operations research, systems engineering, industrial engineering, or related fields. The fellowship money can go toward the paying of tuition and fees, books, travel, living expenses and attending scientific conferences. The program also provides AT&T research mentors for each recipient, fostering personal and professional interactions.
Lydia I. Pickup Memorial Scholarship
The Lydia I. Pickup Memorial Scholarship, established in 2000, is offered through Society of Women Engineers to female undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in an ABET-accredited engineering or computer science program. One recipient will be awarded $3,000 for the academic year.
Mary Jones Berry Scholarship
Women graduate students studying aerospace engineering, manufacturing engineering, and mechanical engineering are eligible to receive the $1,000 annual award. Preferred list of schools includes Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, Penn State, Georgia Tech, & Purdue.
Association for Women in Mathematics Travel Grants
AWM provides travel grants for female researchers in mathematics fields for both domestic and foreign travel for research conferences and longer-term visits with mentors. The goal of AWM in providing these grants is to enhance the research activities of women mathematicians and increase their visibility in various research venues. Award amount and application deadlines vary based on the grant.
The Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program awards graduate students between $25,000 and $38,000, depending on the degree pursuing. Graduate applicants must submit their GRE scores and be currently enrolled or accepted at a regionally accredited institution.
Clare Boothe Luce Program Scholarships
The Clare Boothe Luce Program Scholarships awards benefit recipients who are first starting out on their graduate studies in science, mathematics, and engineering. Grants are awarded to four-year degree granting institutions instead of individuals. Strong preference is given to Catholic institutions with strong science programs, especially ones who support women in the physical science and engineering fields.
Schlumberger Foundation’s Faculty for the Future Fellowship
The Schlumberger Foundation provides fellowships to women from developing countries in their pursuit of advanced graduate studies in the STEM fields. “The program’s long-term goal is to generate conditions that result in more women pursuing academic careers in STEM disciplines,” and encourage women to “return to their home countries to continue their academic careers and inspire other young women to choose careers in STEM.”
Association for Women in Mathematics: The Schafer Prize
Each year, the Association for Women in Mathematics awards one outstanding female undergraduate student with this prize. Members of the mathematical community are invited to nominate students that they feel demonstrate excellence in the field. This is an annual prize, with nominations due the October 1 of the year before the award will be provided.
Gertrude Cox Scholarship for Women in Statistics
Women who are currently enrolled in graduate-level studies in statistics are eligible for this $2,000 award. Applicants must also be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. or Canada in order to receive the scholarship. Women in their beginning stages of their graduate studies are especially encouraged to apply for this annual scholarship.
American Association of University Women Fellowships
Women attending mathematics or statistics master’s programs are eligible to apply for AAUW’s Selected Professions Fellowships and receive funds ranging from $5,000 to $18,000 to help them pursue full-time studies at accredited U.S. institutions.
American Mathematical Society’s Math in Moscow Scholarship Program
Graduate and undergraduate students in mathematics or computer science who are members of both the American Mathematical Society and the Math in Moscow Program can apply for a $10,200 scholarship to cover some of the costs of attending the Math in Moscow Program. Five scholarships are awarded per semester, and students must be willing to participate in an eight-year longitudinal survey to track student outcomes through graduate school and early career paths following the program.
In my undergraduate degree, there was about 10:1 ration of men to women. It might have been a little larger ratio as a graduate student, but at least among those I spent any time with, the men in my classes were very supportive, friendly, and treated me as an equal. But, I've heard that wasn't everyone's experience.Felicia Marshall, engineering manager
It doesn’t have to cost tens of thousands of dollars to achieve an advanced degree — especially for women pursuing a graduate STEM degree. While there are a vast variety of scholarship opportunities available, securing one can take some effort and planning. With these five tips, learn how to find scholarships that best suit you, keep you organized during the application process, and help you create an eye-catching essay to increase your chances of getting funding for school.
Applying for scholarships can be overwhelming. That’s where crafting an application plan can be beneficial. Start by creating a bulleted-list detailing how to find and apply for scholarships, as well as a list of documents that may be required for all scholarships, such as transcripts, personal statements and letters of reference. You might also want to create a folder or tracking system for easy access to necessary documents and specific scholarship needs.
Researching scholarships and grants can be found easily enough online via websites such as fastweb.com, salliemae.com, and scholarships.com, but how do you know what to choose from? A good rule of thumb is to select scholarships that fit your specific qualifications, academic interests, work/life experiences, and long term goals. To help keep you organized, compile a list of scholarships you’re interested in and then add key dates and deadlines to a calendar so you don’t miss deadlines.
You may think your time spent volunteering at the homeless shelter or helping youth with their language skills are hobbies and outside commitments, but to scholarship organizations and committees, these past-times give them a strong idea of your character, drive, ambition and passions. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself as a candidate with a distinct personality, goals, desires, ambitions and accomplishments. Describe yourself with your own voice succinctly and remember to talk about yourself in a compelling manner to make it clear why you stand out and are full of promise.
Scholarship selection committees use your essay to determine what makes you a candidate worthwhile of funding. It’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate your background, experiences, and life goals and commitment in relation to your professional objectives. You should think about creative and concise ways to tell your life story that is engaging and speaks to the specific scholarship you are applying for.
Letters of recommendation serve as expert information from others who can give insight on your qualifications, experience, and character, and showcase why you’re deserving of the scholarship you applied for. When determining who to reach out to for letters of recommendation, contact respected and well-known professionals, colleagues, friends, and academic contacts to speak to your merits, achievements and abilities in a positive light. Be sure to ask for a letter well in advance so it can be included with the application or submitted separately for consideration.
Growing up I played with K'nex a lot. Most Christmases I can remember, we'd get a big K'nex set and spend the rest of the day building some large K'nex contraption. I also liked watching Bill Nye and was always interested in watching my dad work on the car or solder things (he repaired electronic music equipment). In high school, I had excellent math and science teachers. I especially loved my AP calculus teacher in high school and he encouraged me to do something in math or engineering.
Choosing my major was kind of interesting; I was actually trying to get into CalTech because a recruiter was looking for women to play basketball, but they don't do athletic scholarships, so she was just trying to get people with good grades to apply. I sat down with my dad and went through all the CalTech majors talking about what kind of things I might do with each of the degrees. I decided I wanted to be able to build robots and it came down to electrical or mechanical engineering. I chose mechanical because it seemed more broad and would cover some of the electrical stuff whereas the electrical seemed to be more focused. I ended up applying to CalTech to play basketball and BYU for religious affiliations. I didn't get into CalTech so I went to BYU.
When I completed my undergraduate degree, I still wanted to build robots, and the professor that had taught classes about automation and robotics basics was an ME professor, so I continued my studies under him. I ended up doing my master's research on multi-user CAD and furthering my programming skills. That was fun, but not particularly robotics related. My master's research contributed to a couple of patents for BYU. My job now is unrelated to CAD or robotics and very loosely related to mechanical engineering, but I've learned so much, and found that my engineering degrees really gave me the ability to learn and be successful doing anything I want.
I had a great amount of support from my family. My parents didn't complete college and were very excited about me being at BYU and pursuing engineering. The College of Engineering at BYU held regular functions to support and encourage the women to stay on track. When I got married, my husband was a huge support to me, putting his career on hold to help get me through school. When I started having kids, my sister and other family and friends helped so much with childcare while I finished my degrees and even somewhat afterward while working full time.
Of course women are generally underrepresented in STEM, and honestly, I don't think that it will ever be equal, and I'm OK with that. I think we need more women in the field for sure, but I also wholeheartedly support women who want to stay home and take care of kids’ full time and not work. For me being a mother is my most important responsibility, and I feel my engineering degrees have made me a better mother in being able to explain things when my kids ask questions.
In my workplace, I am currently the only female engineer in the company. When I started, there was one other, but I haven't had a hard time being the only one. It's a little bit harder to bond with coworkers, but the professional climate is pretty healthy. I think it is weirder for the men sometimes, when they want to address the group in a meeting and say things like "guys" and then throw in a "and gal" to account for me. It kind of singles me out further, which I don’t think they mean to do.
As far as respect goes, I think I am just as or more respected than many of the men. I currently manage three men and have had many people praise my skills and tell me how communication has gotten so much better since I became manager. I've even had two kids since starting there, and was well-supported during my pregnancies and maternity leave. Never once did people consider me less capable or assume or act like I was going to be gone forever or leave a void in any way.
I wholeheartedly support the choice for women to get advanced degrees because women think differently than men do. Women look at the world differently, and because of this, it is really important that more women's brains be looking at expanding the field of knowledge in STEM areas. As we do this we will see the world evolve faster and differently than it does with just men’s brains pushing the research.Felicia Marshall, engineering maanger
In order to further advance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, women need support and resources to help promote integration as well as encouragement to use their talents in the various industries.
Below are 10 of the top organizations, programs, and resources for women involved in STEM fields.
AWIS strives to raise awareness to the barriers and challenges women face in STEM, and to advocate positive system changes that allow women to thrive in science. With more than 50 local chapters and affiliate groups nationwide, women can find a network and provide support for one another. On the AWIS website, members can find career opportunities, resources for advocacy and public engagement, research information, publications, and events.
SWE has been working for over 60 years to be an advocate and resource for women in engineering. They are committed to developing “women in engineering across socio-economic strata and occupational focus” and to increase the interest and participation of minority women and girls in STEM. On their website, members can find learning tools, scholarship opportunities, youth outreach, the job search center, and more.
Since 1971, AWM has garnered over 3,000 members of both men and women in the mathematical community. The goal of the nonprofit is to encourage women and girls to study and pursue careers in the mathematical sciences, and to promote equal opportunity for and equal treatment of women in the mathematical sciences. AWM offers programs, grants, workshops, meetings, and conferences to support their mission and raise awareness. On their website, members can find job openings, fundraisers, industry news, lectures and awards, and other resources.
Founded in 1978, AWC was one of the first professional organizations for women in computing. Their purpose is to provide opportunities for professional growth through both local and digital networking, and through programs on technical and career-oriented topics.
The NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers considers barriers for women in science and works with other branches of the NIH to provide solutions for those obstacles and “promote entry, recruitment, retention, and sustained advancement of women in biomedical and research careers.” Find more information on industry news and events on their website.
NGCP strives to increase the available resources necessary to interest and educate girls in STEM. They create local networks which provide projects, programs, and information to girls on a local level. On the NGCP website, you can find local chapters, event information, and other resources.
WEPAN’s mission is to make engineering—both in college and after—more accessible to women by providing a network of female engineering students from over 150 campuses across the country. They effectively reach 60 percent of the female engineering student population. Members of the WEPAN website can find forums, job openings, resources and initiatives on increasing diversity in engineering.
MWM is a network of men and women in science who mentor girls through high school, college, and into career life. The goal is to find one million mentors who can provide girls and women with the support they need to stay and grow in the STEM workplace.
APS believes women physicists need support on all levels, from education and recruitment to job retention and advancement. Through the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP), they encourage and provide resources for women such as workshops and meetings, scholarships, publications, education and career information, and more.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers formed their sub-association Women in Engineering (WIE) to “[promote] women engineers and scientists and [inspire] girls around the world to follow their interests to a career in engineering.” Women of all technical disciplines can find local involvement opportunities, publications, conferences, and educational and career information, plus much more on the IEE WIE website.