Women continue to be underrepresented in fields like STEM. According to the US Department of Labor, women make up only 15% of engineers, 24% of IT-related jobs, and 26% of STEM workers overall.
As a woman, pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is often a tough path to walk on. To help bridge the gender gap and rebalance the scales in numerous industries, several organizations and institutes have started scholarships and programs to improve inclusion and diversity in STEM.
In this article, we’ve curated 8 great scholarships open to women in high school, that can help you further your career in STEM. These range from full tuition covers, renewable grants, and one-time bursaries. Some of the scholarships listed below encourage individuals who identify as non-binary to apply as well.
The Chicago-based design firm Cards Against Humanity LLC, which manufactures the popular adult party game of the same name, this full-tuition scholarship to women and non-binary students, covering tuition expenses of your undergraduate degree for up to four years. To apply, you have to record a three-minute video of yourself explaining a STEM topic you are passionate about and upload it to YouTube. Previous winners have studied at the Massachusetts University of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, and Amherst College. Scholarship amount: Full tuition (Note: Cards Against Humanity will not reimburse you for any tuition expenses you may have already paid). Location: Any US university with an eligible STEM program. You can find the full list of eligible STEM fields for the scholarship here. Application deadline: December 13, 2023. The winner will be announced in April 2024. Eligibility: Students who are high school seniors or undergraduate students from anywhere in the world can apply. You must be pursuing or intend to pursue a STEM field as your undergraduate major.
Microsoft, one of the world’s leading technology companies, offers high school students (those who identify as girls or non-binary) who want to pursue a career in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) up to $5,000. The scholarship is renewable every year for up to four years, meaning you can receive up to $20,000. Microsoft values applicants who show leadership skills and have a habit of active participation in their community. Scholarship Amount: Up to $5,000; renewable for up to four years. Location: Any US university. Application Deadline: The applications will open between January 2024 and March 2024 (tentatively). Eligibility: Students who are high school seniors set to graduate, i.e. rising college freshmen, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 can apply. The program is open to international students. Those applying must identify as women or non-binary individuals and intend to pursue a career in a STEM field.
The Heinlein Society is dedicated to Robert A. Heinlein, an American science fiction writer and aeronautical engineer. Every year, it offers four STEM scholarships, of which one is dedicated to women studying STEM.
The $4,000 Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship is offered to one female student studying biological or physical sciences, engineering, or mathematics. The scholarship is open to international students. Its latest recipient, Nine Reed-Mera, began college at 16, is a double major in Biological Sciences and Written Arts, and has a 4.0 GPA. Previous recipients are encouraged to reapply.
Scholarship amount: $4,000
Location: Any US university
Application deadline: The applications tentatively close by March-end or early April.
Eligibility: Students who are attending or plan to attend a university that offers a 4-year Bachelor of Science degree, can apply. Those applying must be majoring in biological or physical sciences, engineering, or mathematics. International students can apply for the scholarship.
Hyundai America launched the Women in STEM scholarship in 2020 and has since awarded a total of $150,000 to several recipients. This year, five students received $10,000 each. Students must include in their application a written component, talking about how future mobility and STEM-related solutions can better serve communities, which will be graded on the following criteria: thoughtfulness (50%), relevance (30%), quality of writing (15%), grammar (15%).
Scholarship amount: $10,000 for each of the five winners
Location: The scholarship amount is transferable to any STEM program at any US university.
Application deadline: June 2024 (tentative)
Eligibility: Students who are high school seniors or pursuing their undergraduate degree can apply. Those applying must be US citizens or have permanent resident status. Must be at least 18 years old. Students aged 16 and above can apply with the consent of a parent/guardian.
The BHW Group, a Texas-based company that builds custom web and mobile apps for its clients, offers up to two women a $3,000 scholarship.
To apply, students have to write a 500-800 word essay using one of these prompts:
Tell us about your favorite app and what you like about it.
Tell us about a time an app played a significant role in improving your day.
Past winners include Arisa Chue, who is pursuing a Computer Science degree at Stanford University, and Allison Towey, who is studying Computational Social Science at The University of Chicago.
Scholarship amount: $3,000
Location: Any US university
Application deadline: April 15, 2024.
Eligibility: The program is open to US and international high school, undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate students who are pursuing or intend to pursue a STEM program.
The SWE offers multiple scholarships for women who want to pursue ABET-accredited engineering and engineering-related programs. Find the list of programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) here.
In 2022, SWE granted over 330 scholarships globally, disbursing more than $1,500,000. Prospective applicants must fill out a common form which will be considered for all scholarships they are eligible for.
Scholarship amount: Varies; scholarships range between $1,000 and $16,000. The average scholarship is $4,500.
Location: All US universities offering ABET-accredited programs.
Application deadline: The deadline varies based on the scholarship you’re applying for. See the complete list of available scholarships here.
Eligibility: Students who are in high school or university, pursuing an engineering-related degree in an ABET-accredited university, can apply. You can find the list of ABET-accredited programs here. International students can apply.
While not a university scholarship, the Lumiere Research Inclusion Foundation is a non-profit research program for talented, low-income students. Born out of the Lumiere Research Scholar Program (one of the largest 1-on-1 research initiatives for high school students), the foundation offers the same independent research opportunities at no cost.
The Lumiere Breakthrough Scholar Program is the equivalent of the Individual Research Scholar Program at Lumiere Education. In our flagship program, we pair talented high-school students with world-class Ph.D. mentors to work 1-on-1 on an independent research project. At the end of the 12-week program, you’ll learn about the cutting edge of your field and develop an independent research paper.
You can choose topics from various STEM subjects such as physics, computer science, engineering, chemistry, and more.
Scholarship Amount: N/A
Location: Remote - you can participate in this program from anywhere in the world!
Application Deadline: There are 4 cohorts (You can apply here!)
Fall 2023: August 27th, 2023
Winter 2023: November 26th, 2023
Spring 2024: January 14th, 2024
You must be currently enrolled in high school or plan to enroll as a freshman in college in the fall of 2023.
Students must demonstrate a high level of academic achievement. (Note. Students have an unweighted GPA of 3.3 out of 4)
No previous knowledge of your field of interest is required!
Note. While there is no cut-off for income, past scholars have typically come from households earning less than $50,000 annually (for a typical household of 4) with minimum assets.
Davidson Fellow Scholarships are offered to gifted high school students who submit projects in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and other such STEM subjects.
Each submission will be reviewed on the basis of its potential to make a positive contribution to society (you can find more detailed guidelines here!). Selected projects can be awarded scholarships from $10,000 - even $50,000!
You should also note that 11/20 recipients for the past few cohorts of the Davidson Fellows scholarship have been women!
Scholarship Amount: $10,000, $25,000, or $50,000.
Application Deadline (2024): The application deadline has not been specified, however, expect it to be in the month of February.
Be 18 or younger as of the application deadline (Note. There is no minimum age for eligibility).
Be a U.S. citizen residing in the United States, or a Permanent Resident of the United States residing in the United States, or be stationed overseas due to active U.S. military duty.
Teams of two are eligible. Both team members must meet eligibility requirements.
Lumiere Research Scholar Program
If you are passionate about research in STEM, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students I founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.
Kieran Lobo is a freelance writer from India, who currently teaches English in Spain.
Image Source: Science Ambassador Scholarship logo