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Taking Up Space Scholarship

1 winner$500
Application Deadline
Jul 1, 2022
Winners Announced
Jul 31, 2022
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Underrepresented student (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, etc.)
Field of Study:
Pursuing a male-dominated field (STEM, trades, software development, etc.)
First-generation college student

For generations, women have been taught to be small, quiet, and to take up no space in the world. 

Though women have made strong progress in the world, they’re still underrepresented in many fields, such as STEM and the trades. Even though nearly half of US workers are women, only 27% of the STEM workforce is female. In order to rectify this imbalance, women need to be supported throughout their education and careers. 

This scholarship seeks to empower and encourage women who are pursuing careers in male-dominated fields and paving the way for the next generation of women.   

Any first-generation female student who is an underrepresented minority, such as BIPOC or LGBTQ+ students, and pursuing a male-dominated field, such as STEM, software development, or the trades, may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us what taking up space means to you and how you apply that to your daily life.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published April 8, 2022
Essay Topic

What do you believe the meaning of taking up space is, and how do you apply that to your daily life?

400–600 words

Winning Application

Johanna Bustamante Salgado
University of California-BerkeleyOmaha, NE
Too loud, too confident, too demanding, too opinionated and many more “too’s” are often used to describe women who want to make themselves heard in predominantly male dominated spaces. It can be easy for women to get shoved to the back, to be overlooked or invalidated, especially if they are one of few women in their workplace. The underrepresentation of females in STEM, especially if they fall under other minority groups, can cause other females to steer away from the field or foster feelings of self-doubt, fear of failure or loneliness. For these reasons, those who have made it into the field should encourage and inspire other females and underrepresented groups to pursue and continue their journey in STEM by taking up space. Taking up space. What does it mean to take up space and how can it be done? This phrase can sound negative, like we’re trying to push others out, but it can bring people in. Taking up space can have different meanings to different individuals, to me, it means making yourself visible. It’s when you voice your opinions or point of view on projects and back them up with logical thinking. It means not backing down when you or your decisions are questioned but explaining your rationale calmly and with confidence. It means being able to accept failure and coming back stronger and better than before. It means working with others, accepting when you’re wrong, but also, knowing when you’re right and demonstrating why you’re right when you are questioned. Taking up space doesn’t have to be threatening, but it can be firm and can create an environment where you’re heard and respected by your peers. Many may say easier said than done, or it takes a certain type of person to be able to accomplish that. It can be hard to push yourself to do those things and say what you want to say, but it’s not impossible and it’ll be less intimidating over time. I have always been a very shy person; I would rarely speak up or give my opinions for fear of being wrong and made fun of. I would often just go with what everyone else would say even if I thought they were wrong or had questions. I realized that I gained nothing by not making myself heard, in fact, I wouldn’t be taken seriously, and others would think that I could be easily told what to do. I decided I needed to change my way of working with others by being more assertive and voicing my thoughts. It was difficult at first because I didn’t want anyone to think negatively of me, but I knew I had to do it. Now, I’m able to take up space by an active member of a team. I’m an intern at a predominantly male biotechnology company, it can be intimidating at times, but I voice my opinions, explain my rational on ideas, discuss and share feedback on projects, experiments and processes. It’s steps like these, that may seem small, but can make a difference in your life and help you take up the space you deserve. When other aspiring women in STEM see you take up space in predominantly male spaces, they will be inspired to follow that path. Although I may stumble at times or feel doubtful, one day I will join the 27% of women in STEM and hopefully inspire other first-generation Latinas to pursue STEM and take up the space they deserve in their fields.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Jul 1, 2022. Winners will be announced on Jul 31, 2022.

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