Whether they are earning their degree for the first time or going back to school for a career change, women are attending college in numbers that out-number men in many academic fields. In the science fields, however, many women face the challenge of being in the minority in their classes. To better encourage women to enter and excel at these fields, a number of science grants and scholarships for women are available from private companies and individuals in the fields of biology, physical science, computer science and engineering.
Biologists play essential roles in our health care, zoos, conservation efforts and school settings. Women studying biology often go on to graduate study and research, which means their education can become quite expensive. Fortunately, there are a number of scholarships and grants for women studying biology or one of the related biological sciences.
1. Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship: This scholarship is given to one lucky undergraduate or graduate biology student each year. Awards range from $750 to $1000. Deadlines are usually in early March.
2. Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship: Awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this scholarship shows preference to women and minorities who are studying sciences related to the ocean. This includes oceanography, maritime archeology and marine biology. Applications must be made through Grants.gov.
3. Women Divers Hall of Fame Scholarships: These scholarships are given to women studying in a variety of fields, including marine biology and marine conservation. Awards range from $1000 to $2000 and are given to both undergraduates and graduate women. Interested applicants must complete an application form and an essay in order to apply. The Women Divers Hall of Fame awards multiple scholarships and a recipient must choose only one to apply for each year. More information can be found at their website or by emailing the Women Divers Hall of Fame at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Excellence in Science Scholarship: These awards are provided to women who have already completed their education and who have excelled in the field of biology. To be eligible, recipients must be able to prove that they have made significant contributions in areas of research, as well as in leadership and being a scientific mentor. They must also be a member of a society sponsored by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
5. General Biology Scholarships: These scholarships are not targeted directly towards female applicants. Nonetheless, women can and should apply for them, not only to decrease their own financial burden, but to increase the visibility of women in scientific circles. These general biology scholarships include:
- National Garden Clubs Scholarships: A total of $3500 is given to 31 to 34 undergraduate and graduate students majoring in biology. A preference is given to those majoring in plant biology.
- Recreational Boating Industries Scholarships: The Educational Foundation of the Recreational Boating Industries awards up to $1000 to undergraduates who major in the fields of biology, the natural resources or any other science related to tourism.
- Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association Scholarship: Undergraduate majors in biology or horticulture can receive up to $2,500 from this scholarship.
- Wildlife Leadership Awards: This scholarship awards $2000 each year to juniors and senior students studying natural resources or biology.
Physical science includes geologists, chemists, physicists and astronomers. Like biologists, women entering these fields often require many years of graduate study and can have quite a high educational bill. Fortunately, there are a number of scholarships and grants aimed at women entering the physical sciences.
1. Maria Goeppert Mayer Award: This grant gives $2,500 in award money, plus an additional $4,000 in travel funds so that the winner can give lectures in her fields at multiple educational institutions. The grant is designed to help female physicists in the early part of their career. To apply, an applicant must include a basic biography, a list of relevant publications of the applicant and at least two letters supporting the application.
2. Fellowships in Physical Science by The National Physical Science Consortium: These fellowships are designed to increase the diversity of the physical sciences field, which means that they are aimed towards women and minorities. To be eligible, students should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and be already enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. Acceptable fields of study include math, chemistry, geology, computer science and astronomy.
3. The M. Hildred Blewett Scholarship: This scholarship is given to women in the field of physics who have completed work towards a doctorate degree, but who put their career on hold for their family. The scholarship provides monetary resources for those women to resume their research. To qualify, the women must be legal resident or alien of the United States or Canada. Applicants must also be associated with an active lab or research institution.
4. The Katherine E. Weimer Scholarship: Awarded to female physicists specializing in plasma research, this award is given to women who are in the early stages of their careers. The award itself provides $2,000 for research, in addition to travel funds to enable the physicist to give lectures that are required as part of this scholarship. Deadlines for applications are April 1, and applicants must provide a complete biography of themselves and their most relevant publications in order to be considered.
5. The Priscilla Carney Jones Scholarship: Taking into consideration both need and merit, the minimum for this award is $1,500. The scholarship gives funding for women who are in their junior or senior year of studying chemistry or a related field. Pre-med majors are not eligible for this award. Applicants must be enrolled full-time and have a minimum GPA of at least 3.25. The deadline is May 1.
6. Association for Women Geoscientists Minority Scholarship: The Association provides multiple awards of varying amounts to minority women studying in the geoscience field. The deadline is June 30. Qualifications include:
- African-America, Native American or Hispanic heritage.
- Full time enrollment in geology, geochemistry, earth science education, physical oceanography, geophysics, meteorology, planetary geology or hydrology programs.
- Demonstration of contribution to the community both academically and personally.
7. General physical science scholarships: These scholarships are not directed towards women studying the physical sciences. But they are open to anyone in the field, and women are highly encouraged to apply. They include, but are not limited to the following:
- Barbara Lotze Scholarships: These scholarships provide $2000 in funding for future high school teachers of physics.
- Geological Society of America Research Grants: The Geological Society of America provides a number of different grants to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing geological research.
- NASA Scholarships and Research Programs: NASA awards multiple research and fellowship related scholarships and grants. Awards are open to undergraduate students, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.
Women entering the field of computer science can look forward to a financially rewarding career. Every sector of society, from fast food to the federal government, requires the services of computers and having competent computer scientists is necessary to make businesses run smoothly. But before gaining employment in this industry, students have to pay the educational bills and these scholarships can help with that.
1. Association for Women in Mathematics: The association grants a variety of scholarships for travel, education and research. Depending on the type of education a woman is pursuing in computer science, she may qualify for these grants.
2. Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship and the The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship: Europe, the Middle East and Africa Scholarship: Both awards are given to women who are currently enrolled in programs related to technology field. Applicants should also display a strong love of leadership. In addition to the varying amounts of monetary funding, students who receive the Anita Borg Memorial Scholarships are invited to attend a Google retreat that allows them to network with their peers.
3. The Vanguard Women in Information Technology Scholarship: The Vanguard program gives merit awards to female students in any computer field related to Information Technology. The scholarships are in various amounts up to $10,000 and open to undergraduate students in their junior or senior year of college.
4. Michigan Council of Women in Technology: The foundation that awards these scholarships gives a number of awards to high school seniors and undergraduate college students. To qualify, women must be actively pursuing a career in a technology related field. Awards range between $15,000 to $20,000 and can be used towards research, lab fees and travel.
5. General Computer Science Scholarships:
- AFFIRM Student Scholarship: This scholarship offers funding to students studying at University of Maryland and Syracuse University who are pursuing careers in the IT industry.
- HP Scholar program: These scholarships offer funding to minority undergraduate students pursuing degrees in computer sciences or related academic fields.
Women are definitely unrepresented in the engineering field. Many of these scholarships try to address that inequality by offering financial assistance to women pursuing an engineering degree.
1. Society of Automotive Engineers Women Engineers Scholarship: These scholarships provide $2,000 to freshman engineering students. To qualify, applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0.
2. Lucile B. Kaufman Women’s Scholarship: Recipients of this scholarship must be full-time undergraduate women who have completed at least 30 semester credits in an engineering field related to manufacturing in an accredited college or university in the United States. Applicants also need to have a GPA of at least 3.0.
3. Alpha Omega Epsilon Scholarships: Multiple scholarships offered by Alpha Omega Epsilon are awarded to women studying in engineering or related fields. The GPA requirements vary, depending upon which award the woman qualifies for.
4. YouthForce 2020 Scholarship: These New York scholarships award $8,000 to graduating high school seniors preparing to study in an engineering field related to construction, including electrical, mechanical, civil or occupational engineering. The goal of the program is to encourage both women and minorities to enter the engineering workforce. To qualify, applicants must have at least a B- average, SAT scores of at least 1600 and be accepted into an engineering department. The award is renewable and the student must have at least a 2.8 GPA to continue to receive the award.
5. Judith McManus Price Scholarship: Both women and minority undergraduates planning on becoming public planners are eligible for these awards. The funding ranges between $2,000 to $4,000. To qualify, students must either be enrolled or have officially acceptance from a school which is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board. Since the award is need based, the students should be able to demonstrate why they need the funding.
General engineering scholarships: These scholarships are open to anyone pursuing an education in engineering. While not aimed specifically towards women, they may be helpful in helping a woman majoring in engineering fund her education.
- Tau Beta Pi Scholarships: This scholarship provides support of $1,000 to $2,000 to undergraduate engineering majors.
- ASHRAE Alwin B Newton Scholarship: This scholarship grants funding to undergraduates receiving training in engineering fields related to heating, air conditioning, refrigeration and ventilation.
General Science Scholarships
A number of scholarships do not specify a certain scientific field or are open to multiple scientific fields of study. This makes these scholarships useful to a number of women trying to fund their science education. But although the scholarships and grants include a variety of sciences, they do come with other specific requirements.
1. The Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholarships: These scholarships are awarded to low-income woman studying in technical or vocational fields. To qualify, students must be at least 35 years old and pursuing their first associate or bachelor’s degree. Students must also be U.S. citizens. Applications open for the Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholarships on November 1 and close in February.
2. Society of Women Engineers Scholarships: The SWE grant program benefits women studying in engineering, computer science or engineering technology. To qualify, women must be already admitted to undergraduate or graduate programs which have been accredited by the ABET/CSAB.
3. The Ford Foundation’s Pre-doctoral Fellowship for Minorities: The Ford Foundation provides scholarships to any students studying in any field of engineering, math or science. However, recipients who are women or minorities are especially encouraged to apply. Recipients of the fellowship receive a $20,000 annual stipend.
4. Women in Engineering and Computer and Information Science: These programs are awarded through the National Science Foundation. They are reserved for women in graduate fields of math, computer science, engineering or science.
5. Sigma Delta Epsilon’s Graduate Women in Science: The Sigma Delta Epsilon grants seek to further the role of women in scientific research in any of the natural sciences. To meet this goal, they award a variety of annual fellowships in amounts up to $10,000. Considerations for this fellowship include:
- Membership in Sigma Delta Epsilon is not required, but it is highly encouraged.
- The fellowships are given for one year and are not renewable.
- Eligible women will already have at least a bachelor’s degree and should have a demonstrated history of conducting scientific research.
- A progress report is due at the end of the fellowship.
6. Clare Boothe Luce Program Scholarships: At least fifty percent of the annual scholarships are awarded to students studying at colleges or universities affiliated with the Catholic Church. The original goal of the Clare Boothe Luce Program was to encourage women to enter and teach in the fields of science, math and engineering. To meet that goal, the scholarship program supplies money to the following:
- Undergraduate women studying in the science, math and engineering fields.
- Graduate women and those in need of post-doctoral fellowships.
- Tenure track professors in the science, math and engineering fields.
7. The Association for Women in Science College Scholarship: Each year, this scholarship awards up to $1000 to freshmen women majoring in the sciences.
8. Women’s Environmental Council: This scholarship seeks to help women who are studying in preparation for careers related to the environment. Fields of study can include biology, forestry, chemistry, or any environmental science, including engineering. Women interested must have at least a 3.0 GPA. Scholarships are given to undergraduates and graduate students.
9. The Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholarship: This scholarship is a little different than other scholarships, because the department has to be the one to nominate the woman for the scholarship. The award includes $15,000 for academic study and $2,000 for travel. These awards are not renewable and are given to women in graduate programs for computer science, electrical engineering or mathematical fields.
10. Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation Scholarships: These programs are not geared exclusively towards women, but they are an excellent way to not only secure a full scholarship, but to gain post-graduate employment as well. These scholarships cover areas of science ranging from biology and chemistry to behavior sciences. Scholarships are open to both undergraduates and graduate students.
11. Center for Women & Information Technology Scholarship Program: This program aims to help women fund their education, but also seeks to go above and beyond the goal of many scholarships. This program also wants to help address the role of women’s needs within the computer and information fields. These scholarships are given to high school seniors who plan to attend University of Maryland Baltimore County. They are a full scholarship that will cover the student for all four years of their undergraduate study. Eligible fields of study include computer science, chemical engineering, biological engineering, computer information systems and mechanical engineering.
12. AT&T Labs Fellowship Program: This three year fellowship offers funding to a senior undergraduate or a student in their first two years of undergraduate study. The fellowship provides funds for both women and minority students who are working towards their doctorate degree in computer, math or engineering fields.
Other Places to Look for Science Funding
Once accepted to a college or university science program, the female undergraduate student should check with their department and their financial aid office. Many colleges and universities have scholarships and grants aimed at both women and students studying science. Qualifications will vary, and the department and financial aid office will be able offer guidance on the application instructions.
Another source for funding may come towards scholarships directed towards minorities studying science. Women who are racial minorities may be able to help fund their education through grants and scholarships designed towards their racial or ethnic heritage. Typically, women of Latina, Asian, African-American and Native American heritage can apply for minority scholarships and grants to help fund their education.
Single mothers may also be able to qualify for awards based on their status as a single mom. These type of scholarships are usually based on the mother’s financial need. They may also have a loan repayment system to help single mothers who have taken out student loans and do not have the financial ability to repay those loans. These types of scholarships and loans typically focus on women who are returning to school after years of being away.
For women who have had the misfortune to be victims of domestic abuse, the Women’s Independence Scholarship, offered by the Sunshine Lady Foundation, may help fund your scientific education. As with single mom scholarships, these types of loans may require the recipient to be returning to school after several years of having their education interrupted.
Additionally, sources such as the International Federation of University Women Scholarships or American Association of University Women Fellowships and Grants offer scholarships for women engaged in research fields. These may not be directly related to the study of science, but participating and winning these awards helps boost the visibility of women in science, while simultaneously helping fund educational pursuits.
Pursuing an education in the sciences can be a rewarding career for any woman. They will often be in the minority amongs their male peers and the educational requirements to obtain the careers they desire can involve many years of undergraduate and graduate study. While challenges will remain in these male-dominated fields, expenses related to obtaining an education doesn’t need to be one of them.