Black Students in STEM Scholarship

Funded by
Mechanism Ventures
Learn more about the Donor
1 winner
Application Deadline
Dec 11, 2020
Winners Announced
Jan 13, 2021
Education Level
Graduate, Undergraduate
Eligibility Requirements
African American
African American

Talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not.

STEM fields are at the forefront of some of the most exciting, world-defining innovations, and jobs in STEM fields are growing faster than any other sector.

Although African-Americans comprise 13.4% of the US population, they receive just 2% of research grants. Across every STEM field, the Black community is underrepresented.

Aside from the abundance of research showing that diverse teams perform better, the lack of diversity in STEM also leads to issues like racial bias against African-Americans in healthcare algorithms and facial recognition error rates more than 40x worse for Black women as light-skinned men.

Solving this problem will take deep dedication across STEM fields.

As one small part of this, the Black Students in STEM Scholarship will be awarded to a Black undergraduate or graduate student who is majoring in a STEM field.

This scholarship is part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grants Series.

Diversity and Inclusion
Selection Criteria:
Impact, Drive

Scholarship application

Essay Topic

Please tell us a bit about yourself. What do you hope to achieve with your STEM degree?

500–1000 words

Winning Application

Vic E
UC San Diego School of MedicineAudubon, PA
I am a chimera: Nigerian and American! Growing up as the oldest of five children (three sisters and one brother), I attempted to find my own identity and learned to cope with my family's frequent relocations across different states: Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. I also became accustomed to changes in schools and the loss and gain of friendships, communities and social networks. Now, I view change as a normal part of living and an opportunity to explore my world, not a burden to endure, and appreciate people from different walks of life, values and beliefs. I believe that this unique lens stimulated my interests in bridging gaps across disciplines, cultures, and perspectives. My interest in bridging gaps across disparate areas was nurtured early on. Academically, I pursued an interdisciplinary Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology major that revealed how diverse disciplines can provide converging perspectives to challenging problems like the mind and brain. Through the scientific underpinnings of neuroscience and psychology coursework, I received a sound basis for exploring the mind and brain through empirically rigorous methods. Philosophy courses offered me a different, albeit necessary perspective by incorporating an ethical dimension highlighting the relevance of neuroscience to the study and understanding of people. Clinically, I interacted with diverse individuals as a volunteer with schizophrenia patients, through which I encountered individuals from the broad spectrum of human functioning and witnessed conventional medicine used in combination with alternative treatment, such as art therapy, to provide complementary, comprehensive care. Culturally, I balanced scientific interests with artistic and religious endeavors: dance (hip-hop, popping) and Church mission trips. These experiences helped foster my belief that medical challenges are both interdisciplinary and multifaceted, requiring cross-sector solutions. Since entering medical school, my fervor for bridging the divide among disparate disciplines has been renewed by my interactions with patients from diverse backgrounds. While my early medical studies familiarized me with some of the literature describing the health disparities that plague black and brown bodies, it was only after entering the world of clinical medicine that I understood first-hand the consequences and complications that arise when one does not sufficiently respect the social, cultural, and psychological forces of our patients. From the Mexican gentleman with an amputated foot due to uncontrolled diabetes to the patient who had delayed a necessary surgery for months due to lack of transportation to the elderly African American gentleman hesitant to take even the most critical of medications, I am reminded that the diseases plaguing our patients may be different, but the problems limiting their access to care— are not. Rather, these problems are complex and intertwined and require solutions that reflect the intersectional nature of these circumstances. The blend of these unique experiences has stimulated my interests in providing comprehensive medical care that not only addresses the body and the mind but remains sensitive to the surrounding cultural milieu that shapes it. Today, my interests lie at the intersection of medicine, research, and healthcare advocacy. My dream is to unite these interests in the field of Neurology/Psychiatry with the goal of designing culturally competent research studies that will address the burden of brain diseases in all members of the population. I firmly believe diversifying research participants is an essential ingredient for improving health outcomes for minority communities. However, there are not enough people standing in the gap for these communities. The Black Students in STEM Scholarship will help me to become this leader by providing educational support. I hope this experience will form the nidus for my future career as a clinician-scientist-advocate, employing novel approaches to treat human brain disease and combat health disparities.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Dec 11, 2020. Winners will be announced on Jan 13, 2021.