RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe and the Virginia Council on Women today announced the 6th Annual STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Essay Contest for high school junior and senior young women. The Council will award at least five $5,000 scholarships to junior and senior young women seeking to pursue a STEM career at an institution of higher education. The essay contest is one of several initiatives set forth by the Virginia Council on Women to help women advance their education and expand their opportunities in STEM-related fields.
“As we continue to expand STEM programs in K-12 and higher education institutions, it is imperative that we provide women across Virginia the opportunities to further their education in this critical field,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The STEM Essay Contest has been an excellent financial tool for many young women, aiding them in their pursuit to advance their education and research. I commend the Virginia Council on Women and their partners for their outstanding work and Dorothy and I look forward to hosting the winners and their families at the Executive Mansion this spring.”
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. One scholarship will be awarded in each of five geographic regions across the Commonwealth. Additional scholarships may be awarded at the discretion of the Council. The Math Science Innovation Center, a regional math and science center in central Virginia, is a partner in administering the essay contest.
“I am so excited for the launch of the 6th annual STEM contest,” stated Carol Rick Gibbons, Co-Chair of the Essay Contest.“It is truly inspiring to see the talented group of young women in Virginia who are interested in pursuing a career in the STEM fields. The essays we receive show that female interest and aptitude in science, technology, engineering and math is strong in the Commonwealth.”
The Council received 505 essay submissions last year and, thanks to the generosity of its sponsors, awarded $36,000 in scholarships to four graduating seniors. In the first year of the contest, the Council raised $10,000 and made three scholarship awards. Now, in its 6th year, the Council has awarded nearly $150,000 in scholarships.
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 to college.”
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 here.
Entries must be submitted by February 20, 2017. Essays will be judged by a panel of Council members and individuals who hold a degree in or work in STEM fields. Winners will be notified by March 27, 2017. The scholarship awards will be presented at a reception at Virginia’s Executive Mansion in the spring.
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. One is the annual STEM essay contest for high school junior and senior young women. For more information on the Council or on available sponsorship opportunities, please visit: http://commonwealth.virginia.gov/council-on-women.