STEM degrees have always been a hot commodity. Though women have held critical roles in science, math, and engineering fields in the past, the field is still dominated by men. The percentage of women in the field has risen considerably in the past decade, but the number is still abysmal when one considers that women make up half of the population. The White House has been a huge supporter of women in STEM, and President Obama himself issued a statement on the issue. “One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. Half of the population is underrepresented in those fields and that means that talent is not being encouraged the way it needs to be.” If you are a female going into engineering, not only do you have the Commander in Chief’s support, but you also have the support of many organizations that fund scholarships specifically to help you pay for your education.
There are two different application periods depending on your current grade level. Sophomores through graduate students can apply from December 1st to February 17th. Freshmen may apply March 1st through May 15th. Upperclassmen have different requirements than freshmen applicants. A GPA of 3.0 or above is required, as well as an official transcript from your university. A resume in any format must be uploaded for the application to be complete. SWE typically announces scholarship recipients in September and awards them in May. Scholarships range from $1,000 to $15,000 each. Many are renewable. Last year, SWE awarded 220 scholarships that added up to a total of $660,000. To be eligible to apply, you must be a woman planning on attending an ABET accredited university with the intent of studying engineering, engineering tech, or computer science full time. You cannot receive any awards from SWE if your education is already fully funded. Applicants register with the SWE and are automatically registered for a variety of scholarships. Recommendations are required, and must be turned in no later than one week after the regular application deadline. Contact information for a personal reference, a faculty reference, and a contact for your university’s financial aid department must be provided for the application to be considered complete. Some of the scholarships listed are need aware. If you would like to be considered for need based scholarships, your FAFSA information must be uploaded onto SWE’s website.