Increasing the representation of women in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields is vital for America to respond to today’s economic, infrastructure and environmental challenges, states the American Indian College Fund (AICF).
The nation’s largest foundation supporting Native higher education has received a four-year $300,000 grant from the Clare Boothe Luce Program at the Henry Luce Foundation to be part of that change.
With the grant, AICF will help to increase the number of Native American women in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields by making it more accessible for them to earn a college degree. The significance of these scholarships is compounded considering Native American women have the lowest representation of all women in the STEM fields.
The College Fund will award $75,000 to four outstanding American Indian / Alaska Native women seeking a bachelor’s degree in the hard sciences at four-year granting Tribal colleges and university. Students will receive $18,750 disbursed per year, based on the average cost of attendance at a four-year institution.
“Indigenous people possess great science, mathematical, and engineering knowledge and have been remarkably adaptive to technologies. Supporting Indigenous women, who have been underrepresented in STEM fields, as they pursue STEM degrees, honors that knowledge and helps us to contribute to modern society,” said Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund.
In addition to the scholarship award, the program will also provide American Indian / Alaska Native women scholars with programs to support their retention, graduation, and career readiness. These programs include internships, mentorships, career readiness programs, leadership development, career readiness, professional development, financial literacy training, coaching, and more.
Previous graduates are already planning their STEM careers and serving as role models to other Native women interested in the STEM fields.
Adriane Tenequer (Diné), a 2019 graduate from Navajo Technical University, plans to continue her work in advanced manufacturing at the Center for Digital Technologies at NTU in a supervisory position, overseeing large contract jobs from outside sources in need of manufactured parts.
“Being a Clare Boothe Luce scholar has put me in a position to mentor and talk to students from different schools about being an engineer. I am able to reach out to other females who are interested in engineering and assist them with a plan for scholarships and schools,” Tenequer said.
Students can apply online for the scholarship at www.collegefund.org/scholarships. The deadline to apply is May 31, 2020.