Young Women in STEM Scholarship

Funded by
Stephanie Hagopian
Learn more about the Donor
$30,000
3 winners, $10,000 each
Awarded
Winners
3
Finalists
15
Application Deadline
Mar 1, 2022
Winners Announced
Apr 1, 2022
Education Level
Undergraduate, High School
Recent Bold.org scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Financial Background:
Low-income
Gender:
Female
Education Level:
High school senior or undergraduate
Major:
STEM
Financial Background:
Gender:
Education Level:
Major:
Low-income
Female
High school senior or undergraduate
STEM

Women in STEM make up 27% of the STEM workforce, despite women workers as a whole making up 48% of the workforce. 

Over the past fifty years, efforts have been made to increase female representation in STEM. The efforts have thus far been successful, but now is not the time to let up on this progress. Women are being encouraged to pursue STEM more now than ever before. 

The Young Women in STEM Scholarship looks to encourage the future generation of women in STEM fields, especially those coming from low-income backgrounds. Female high school seniors and undergraduate students that are from a low-income household and are pursuing a degree in STEM can apply. 

To apply, answer a series of short essay questions about yourself and your goals for the future.

Published October 30, 2021
$30,000
3 winners, $10,000 each
Awarded
Winners
3
Finalists
15
Application Deadline
Mar 1, 2022
Winners Announced
Apr 1, 2022
Education Level
Undergraduate, High School
Recent Bold.org scholarship winners
Essay Topic

Please answer the following short essay questions (250 words each).

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and what specifically motivates you. If you could do anything with your life, what do you imagine you’d do?

2. What excites you about STEM? How do you feel you could make a positive impact on the world through a job in information technology? 

3. Please describe the greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome and how you managed to get past it. 

750–1000 words

Winning Applications

Kieuntha Pearson mar
Community College of DenverBrighton, CO
3. I like to think of myself as a recovering perfectionist. Too often I let the fear of my failure hold me back which was especially problematic in a world where there were always going to be places and spaces where my best wasn’t ever going to be enough. Now I only look for spaces where I can add value and be valued. I used to think I was putting too much pressure on myself to understand things deeply. However, with all the learning and growing I do that has remained the constant because I love a creative challenge. If I could do anything with my life, I would be someone’s real-life “Ask Jeeves” because I truly love any opportunity to learn something new. I’ve lived a thousand lives, in books, but also in various situations in life where I had to crawl through the mud to make things happen for myself. So, I am often a go-to for information for people. I used to do a quick google search and pretend to know but now I say, “let’s find out together.” Breaking away from the need to be seen as perfect allowed me to grow from my weaknesses. It allowed me to reach out to learn from smarter and wiser people who helped me become a better person. I now proudly say that I cannot do or be everything, but I do the things that I can and am the person that I am with humility and intention. 2. What I love most about STEM is that while the world seems to always be looking for the next new thing, STEM makes it a point to revisit old ideas with new perspectives. This creates a need for diversity and inclusivity and there is space for everyone. It always fascinated me how the history of science was sort of like a relay race where the next generation received an inheritance of data that they examined and improved on as much as they could before it was time to pass the baton. For the longest time, cultural gatekeepers tried to control access to that baton, but that only fed the fires of Innovation. Innovation is what marginalized communities do best because it was necessary to their survival and their contribution is undeniable. Technology continues to expand beyond borders so far to allow connections and collaborations among some of the world’s greatest thinkers. This breaks down barriers on so many levels. Information Technology is a tool. It’s a tool that has provided me with a unique opportunity to combine two things that I love: learning and helping people. It has been a powerful tool that I feel will give me limitless opportunities. It’s one I can take anywhere so I know I don’t have to be in spaces where my hard work is undervalued because I am black or a woman. Everyone deserves that and I want to help as many people gain access to this life-changing tool as possible. 3. At 8, I knew something was wrong. All foster care did was remove our safety and protection. Our poverty was confused with neglect, and we were treated like we were to blame. Abuse was disguised as discipline. I was bullied into silence and submission. Though I refused their narrative, I still felt ashamed for not being “normal,” or having a “normal” family and belonging nowhere. I thought school was my way out. School was EASY. I played the violin and flute. Though I wasn’t particularly good at either because even if I could admit that I needed help, I didn’t think I’d get it. I had to do everything for myself, by myself, which only took me so far. My last foster parents were my biggest obstacle to higher education. Knowing that school was the only thing I cared about they unenrolled me my junior year. Being under 18, I legally couldn’t enroll myself. Despite the perfect GPA and resume that had already led to multiple colleges acceptances, I never got to walk that stage. I lost the fight, but I look back, so proud of that kid. She embodied a different kind of power that allowed me to create my own unique life. I learned to affirm and value myself. That opened me up to connections. As resourceful as I was, I was missing the most powerful resource… people. Now I’m back for the fight not for my survival, for my purpose. This time, not alone.
Makenna Noel
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteThe Bronx, NY
My name is Makenna Noel and I am a Trinidadian-American student from the South Bronx in NYC. I am currently a sophomore dual computer science and computer engineering major at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. My STEM journey began in the classroom of one of the biggest high schools in the country, Brooklyn Technical High School. The moment I entered the school, I found myself excited yet overwhelmed by the endless list of available STEM and Humanities classes available to me. It was a luxury that not every high school student had and one I was grateful for. Sophomores at Brooklyn Tech were required to take AP Computer Science and I adored the amount of logic that went into coding. The sweet release of tension in my shoulders when my code worked and the endless thinking was a cycle I actually enjoyed. I took more STEM classes both in and outside school, won hackathons, and worked on various side projects. When I entered college, I became curious about the hardware side of things and how I could combine my programming skills with actual physical creations. Classes like Intro to ECSE, and Embedded Control bridged that gap for me. I enjoyed coding motor cars and combining software systems with physical systems. I have always imagined myself working in a robotics lab as a computer programmer and computer engineer. I plan on taking machine learning courses along with my computer engineering courses as I enter my junior and senior years of college as well. 2. What excites me the most about STEM is the ability to use my creative thinking skills and problem-solving skills to create programs and hardware that make an impact on the people around me. I feel I could make a positive impact on the world with information technology through directly assisting users and companies with any software or hardware issues they may have as well as actively taking steps for safer use of technology and safer programming. I was able to do an internship at the IT Helpdesk at Columbia University the summer before my senior year in high school. I was able to learn how to image a laptop, the basics of SQL Database, and help employees set up their phones. In this technology age, there are new startups almost every day that are at risk for cyber-security attacks. There are many software and hardware tools that alter the course of the everyday person in industries such as health, education, data, child development, etc. Ensuring the safety and privacy of users is extremely important for all industries. As I learn more about the behind-the-scenes of computer systems, I learn safer ways to program and contribute to projects. While being a student, I also do my job in having conversations with family members, for example, with any day-to-day issues they may be having concerning internet safety. Over a year ago, a family member of mine was a victim of a phishing scam and it was a terrifying experience for her. I usually talk to my family members about the things I have learned in terms of internet safety from the classes I have taken. I believe information technology and internet safety can start with these relevant conversations as well. 3. The greatest challenge I’ve had to overcome has been myself and my own thoughts. I have a history of social anxiety and that creates a problem when navigating an industry that involves working with other intellectuals to solve problems. There were many aspects like my self-esteem and past interactions with others that triggered my social anxiety during moments like these. I was always being super quiet so I don’t come across as “too much”, a concern that was a result of multiple incidents growing up. I had closed myself off to avoid negative interactions and in turn, I missed out on valuable connections and opportunities. It wasn’t until I joined enrichment programs for computer science and job training that I found myself much more confident in myself. I remember a specific incident in which we did a speed networking event at one of my job training programs in high school. In the first round, I found myself stumbling on my words, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I convinced myself that the things I had to say weren't important. That they wouldn’t propel me in any shape or form. With each round, I found myself more confident as the professionals we were speed networking with seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. I can also recall incidents where I worked on side projects such as a demo app called New York on Tech Connect, an app that would connect students of our program with the classes and trips provided. I learned to be vocal in my perspective and the type of technology I would like to create. The visions I had for projects and the type of women I would like to be were one and the same as they were a product of my creativity and perspective. Knowing myself was half the battle when it came to telling other people who I was and that helped me overcome a lot of my anxieties. I can now go into a room with confidence and present the products I have made, as they are my creation. Similarly, I can go into a room much more confidently and interact with others, because I know who I am.
Kyle Suu
CUNY Queens CollegeQueens, NY
I am 22 year old Asian student who recently came to America for better education.I am freshman majoring in Computer Science at Queens college, CUNY. Unjust coup occurred in my country, Burma, over 1 year ago. Schools and universities were all shut down and civil disobedience movements are taking place all over the country. The whole country is suffering from dictators who only like to keep the benefits for themselves. The leaders of legitimate government were unlawfully arrested by dictators who claimed that election results are rigged. It hurts me more since that was my first time being able to vote for my country election. I will continue fighting for my country's democracy in any way that I can . Whenever I feel down, I always think of my friends who are left behind in the country. I help them in ways that I can and being a part of the protest also motivates me. If I could do anything with my life, I want to be the biggest supporter for my country. Internet services in my country are shut down frequently by dictators and we have been urging Elon Musk to provide us with starlink internet services so that people in my country can continue to stay online and spread the right information. I want to be able to become tech genius like Elon Musk who is able to provide internet service for Ukraine. The amazing thing about STEM is problems can be investigated and solved by science , technology with various methods of mathematics. I think being in STEM major builds resilience and makes people lives better. Scientists, engineers, mathematicians , IT people are constantly trying to make our planet the better place.STEM skills can be used to produce better food , cure diseases, fight crime or educate other people. I believe the whole world is built by STEM. I want to make positive impact on the world by building better future.Using artificial intelligence and datas in information technology still feels like a dream to me. It makes me think how the world is so advanced by looking at all the technologies. "Progress: but still many obstacles" is how most people would describe LGBTQ in STEM. People are still discriminated and harassed fro being a member of LGBTQ community. As an asian , I am not satisfied with the fact that Taiwan is the only country in Asia legalizing same sex marrriage.Burma's sexuality have been described as being "extremely conservative" and I have been wanting to make positive change for our people.Supporting every human who come out and accepting for who they are is the least I can do.As a queer person, I do not want to live in fear and criticized for being who I am.My parents’ American dream is to have stable life with decent house and car. My kind of dream is to live my life doing what I love and I wanna keep doing that forever. I am here to fight for my equality because I believe that we are all born equally but we are not treated equally. My career goal is to be User Experience designer. I would like to be in charge of working with the products which incorporate Artificial Intelligence since I have great interest in AI too. My goal is to help human interact with these tools in order to develop functionality that fits our needs . Majoring in computer science will better help me with AI field. I want us to be center of systems and technologies we build. I was born in a country where there is no computer science or IT related major or minor in universities and colleges. It was depressing to think that my chance to pursue computer science academically was so low . I have always dreamed of coming to USA and attend my dream college. Over the past few years, the education system in my country , Burma(Myanmar) has reached dead-end due to political coup and enormous covid-19 spread. Most importantly, I do not want to reside in a country where my dreams are invalid. After all the struggles, I finally decided to come to USA so that I can transform my dream into reality. Life is short and I don’t want to keep wasting any part of it. What would my life be if I don’t have the courage to attempt anything? This is the question I always asked myself whenever I become uncertain about things in my life.I am going to do my best so that my college life is meaningful and exciting.I am ready to leave behind my past, deep dive into my present and fully prepare for my upcoming future. There’s no turning back in this journey to my dream and I really want to succeed.

FAQ

When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Mar 1, 2022. Winners will be announced on Apr 1, 2022.

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