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Julia Elizabeth Legacy Scholarship

Funded by
user profile avatar
Cedric Scott, Jr.
1 winner$890
Application Deadline
May 2, 2024
Winners Announced
Jun 2, 2024
Education Level
High School
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Education Level:
Must be a high school student
Must be an African American student
Career Goals:
Must be planning to pursue a STEM-related degree

STEM fields are booming right now and often offer lucrative opportunities. Unfortunately, many STEM sectors are sorely lacking in diversity. 

Only 9% of STEM workers are Black, and there is a persistent wage gap in STEM, too. The median income for white STEM workers is $70,000 while the median income for Black STEM workers is only $59,000.

This scholarship seeks to honor the legacy of Julia Elizabeth by supporting underrepresented minority students who are planning to pursue a college degree in a STEM-related field.  

Any African American high school student planning to pursue a 2 or 4 year degree in STEM may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us why diversity in STEM is so important to you.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published February 7, 2024
Essay Topic

Why is it important to have diverse representation in STEM careers?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Ariana Butler
Villa Maria AcademyWEST CHESTER, PA
It is extremely important to have diverse representation in STEM careers because of how it affects society. Though we are all humans, people of each race are slightly different. By having diversity in the different stem fields, we can account for these differences and come up with solutions to problems that benefit everyone. An example of where diversity in Stem is necessary is through the technology world with the new advancements of AI. At Villa Maria Academy, I have taken on the role of president of the school’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, otherwise known as DEIB. Every year in October, members of the committee are invited to attend a social justice conference in Washington D.C., referred to as the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Social Justice (IFTJ). At the conference, we have the opportunity to listen to different speakers and attend a plethora of breakout sessions. I have attended this conference all four years of high school. However, I was most impacted by this year’s topics, specifically the bias within AI. Biases within AI have occurred as a result of using non-inclusive data sets when creating code for facial recognition. This has numerous effects, but the most crucial is in the criminal justice system. AI has allowed police to identify suspects in crimes using pictures from surveillance cameras. However, this bias has caused many women and minorities to be falsely accused of crimes they did not commit. These insights have significantly broadened my understanding of AI's role in areas like law enforcement and have fueled my desire to address this critical societal challenge. I hope to pursue a career in STEM because I believe the issue of bias within AI is a great concern of society's security and criminal justice system. It is unjust to wrongly convict one of a crime and punish them for another’s actions. Pursuing a computer science degree would allow me to help find a solution to biased AI. This would greatly benefit society because it would allow for stronger security. Cameras with facial recognition software are very common in today’s society to secure devices; however, faulty facial recognition reduces security, defeating the original purpose. Unbiased AI would allow devices to be secure since they’d be able to correctly identify individuals. Furthermore, it would make society safer because criminals would be correctly convicted for their crimes, allowing for more peace and trust. Attending a school with a prestigious computer science program would give me the knowledge and experience needed to make a positive impact in addressing AI bias. Attending a school with a prestigious computer science program and challenging curriculum aligns perfectly with my goal of contributing to solutions in this field. I would have an abundant source of opportunities and potential connections necessary for gaining the skills and networks necessary to achieve my goals. I am confident that a STEM education will be instrumental in allowing me to gain the knowledge and experience needed to make a positive impact in addressing AI biases and their repercussions.
Ramon Miland
Rochester Institute of TechnologyPittsburgh, PA
How many times have people who could have cured cancer been born? This is a question I believe we should ask when assessing the importance of diversity in STEM. I wonder how many scientific achievements have not happened, happened slower or were less significant because would-be contributors had the wrong color of skin. Resistance to diversity in STEM stifles the advancement of humanity in its entirety as it limits the potential of many great minds, offers science a smaller group of influences off of which to grow, and contributes to a lack of equity in society. The greatest scientific achievements are products of a diverse group of influences. We often say that two minds are greater than one, but this is most true when those minds are different. The more people of different backgrounds and thought processes try to solve a problem, the more new solutions will likely arise. Thereafter, the strengths of each solution can be isolated and combined to make a better solution than any individual had thought of. The other benefit of diverse contributions to the same idea is that each person is likely to try to benefit a group of factors that they find important. Having people ask, “What about x population” is how we obtain more widely beneficial laws and healthcare policies for example. Diversity is crucial to the creative process and necessary to ensure the maximum number of people benefit from new inventions, discoveries, etc. which is why it is very important STEM. American STEM field diversity additionally serves as a measure of the opportunities provided to minorities in America. Denial of STEM careers is one of many barriers to diversity in STEM. Many minorities who desire a career in STEM have or will also face educational barriers, such as poor STEM schooling because they live in a historically underserved black neighborhood. They might also face financial struggles to attend a accredited STEM college or have to get a job immediately after high school to help support their family. A lack of diversity in STEM, therefore, can point to a lack of equity in society as many minorities may have no way of going through the steps necessary to obtain a STEM career. In my future career as an educational video game developer, I hope to teach students the importance of diversity and collaboration. I plan to incorporate such themes into my games as, the importance of looking at problems from various perspectives and realizing that great achievements are the product of group work, not a single protagonist. Hopefully for those who do these encourage those who do not have as many barriers to STEM to collaborate with people of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds, and provide all players with some of the skills necessary for good teamwork.
Alayah Osullivan
Temple UniversityDrexel Hill, PA
Have you ever been in pain? As a black woman, I know a lot about it. You have things coming at you from all sides – colorism, racism, sexism, stereotypes – and these things cause pain. Black people get sicker and die earlier than other races. For example, black women are three times more prone to death after childbirth. Yet, when black women tell their doctors they're in pain, they’re not taken seriously. We as black women are getting inferior medical care because we are seen incorrectly as more aggressive and tougher than everyone else. Stereotypes about black women’s sexuality also prevent them from getting good medical care. In the 1980’s, if a black woman entered a hospital with pain in her pelvis, doctors were taught to treat her for a sexually transmitted disease. As a black woman it’s disheartening to know that the first thing doctors think of when a black woman says she’s in pain, is that she has an STD. How would you feel if that was your mother or sister getting misdiagnosed by a doctor? I can answer this question for you, most likely upset and disgusted. I know first hand how it feels to have a loved one receive improper health care due to being a black woman. Back in 2011, my mom miscarried my younger brother due to the doctor giving her the wrong medication and properly taking precautions to make sure my baby brother survived. From the result of her miscarriage and have to live with my decease brother in her stomach, my mother was diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes due to the harmful toxins from the babys body. This is what is pushing me to want to pursue a career in medicine. Sadly we can’t erase these stereotypes but we can fight the problem by having more black women working in hospitals. If black doctors are caring for black people, then patients will feel more comfortable, and the doctors won’t turn to the stereotypes that black women don’t feel pain or that they are nothing more than their sexuality. Having black people practicing medicine not only helps fight stereotypes but strengthens the black community. Growing up, I didn't see many black doctors but when I did, I remember connecting with them and answering questions about their experiences in the medical field. One common thing they would all say was when they met another black person, who was also studying medicine, the bond that they would make was incredible. I believe having diversity and representation in medical fields and STEM careers are extremely important and fundamental to making STEM careers more open and comfortable for all.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 2, 2024. Winners will be announced on Jun 2, 2024.

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