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E.R.I.C.A. Scholarship

Funded by
1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Nov 17, 2023
Winners Announced
Dec 26, 2023
Education Level
High School, Undergraduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
High school senior or two or four-year undergraduate
Field of Study:
Underrepresented minority
Volunteering experience

The field of STEAM, encompassing science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, is vital to the flourishing of our communities. 

Unfortunately, STEAM fields are often inaccessible to underrepresented minorities and women. As a white and male-dominated industry, STEAM can be daunting to pursue, with college classrooms and internships often feeling isolating and limited diversity resulting in few mentors from minority backgrounds.  

The E.R.I.C.A Scholarship (Ethnic Researchers Innovating Communities through Achievement) aims to support students who are interested in STEAM and are passionate about making a difference in their communities.

Any underrepresented minority high school senior or two or four-year undergraduate female student who is pursuing STEAM and has volunteering experience may apply for this scholarship.

To apply, tell us about your inspiration or passion for one of the STEAM fields - science, technology, engineering, arts, or math.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Drive, Passion
Published June 6, 2023
Essay Topic

Describe your inspiration/passion for one of the following: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, or Math.

400–600 words

Winning Application

Desiree Smith
Denison UniversityWarrensville Heights, OH
Science is something that I cannot control, which is why it bothers me so much. Science has never come naturally for me from staying up late trying to memorize the periodic table to crying over why my cells did not grow or became contaminated after an experiment. It has been the bane of my existence in many factors from preventing me from hanging out with my friends because I had twenty pages of notes due the next morning to missing family gatherings due to having a test that could make or break my 4.0 grade average. Science is something that has dictated my happiness for so long and I use to hate it, but now I love it. Besides going to Biology and Chemistry classes throughout the academic year, this year I decided to apply for a cancer program that allowed me the chance to do research and apply my in-class knowledge to outside problems, but I never realized how much information I failed to retain. As I joined the laboratory, I was quickly greeted with anxiety because I was not the smartest in the room and I was even struggling to do basic math i.e. multiplication and division, since I did not understand the scientific phrases that were being thrown at me. Each day I would try to get ahead by reading the articles presented to me, watching videos on the procedures I was supposed to partake in, and studying any notes that I took throughout the day. I tried so hard, but I kept failing. It felt like every time I tried to do something by myself I cracked under pressure because when it was time to do something alone I would panic. One vivid memory of my panic was when I did a Bio-Rad Protein Concentration Assay by myself but did not know where to start because I did not want to make a mistake after they worked so hard on creating the infection and selection. Overall, the Bio-Rad Protein Concentration Assay went well, but with that initial fear, I failed to overcome my anxiety and let my passion for this field take over. I wanted to do great, but would not let myself relax to make myself and my team proud. These initial days of fear subsided, but every once and a while I get a pang of worry. After succeeding with the Bio-Rad Protein Concentration Assay, I felt relief and pride, and I honestly loved that feeling. I loved that I had to work for the feeling and how over time I will be able to achieve this dream of working in Science. Overall, this passion and feeling of working towards my goals have increased my calmness and helped me to understand what is going on in my classes and future classes. Plus, I have become more comfortable with performing tasks in the lab including doing Western Blots and minipreps. These experiences also allowed me to get an interview with one of my school's laboratories, hoping to become a part of her team during the school years. This experience opened my eyes to my love for science and how even though it is a struggle, some of its outcomes are everlasting and unforgettable.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Nov 17, 2023. Winners will be announced on Dec 26, 2023.

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