Website seeks to connect students underrepresented in STEM fields with scholarships

Seeking to reverse the trend of underrepresentation of Black and Latinx students in STEM fields, former Google employee Maria Trochimezuk created IOScholarships, a free platform that helps students who are interested in careers in STEM find internships, work opportunities, and scholarships worth almost $38 million.

While working on Google’s public education campaign focused on Latinx communities, Trochimezuk noticed the amount of scholarship money that went unrewarded due to a lack of applicants. Since its founding in March 2021, 11,000 students have used the platform to learn about a broad range of STEM scholarships they may not have otherwise known about.

Related: Improving underrepresented students’ path to high-quality STEM careers>

Promoting unused scholarships

The National Scholarship Provider Association (NSPA) found that while the number of scholarships awarded to students has risen by over 45 percent in the last ten years, an estimated $100 million in scholarships goes unused each year due to a lack of applicants. 

Alyssa Garbarino, a first-generation college student and biology major at California State University-Channel Islands, said the platform allowed her to see many private scholarships she would not otherwise have known about and that she’ll continue to use the platform when she applies for medical school after graduating from college this spring.

Although the growth of STEM jobs is expected to outpace that of non-STEM jobs in the coming years, Pew Research Center data shows there are persistent gaps in STEM workforce representation for Black and Latinx workers, reflecting their underrepresentation in STEM degree attainment. Black students earned 7 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees, lower than their share of all college degrees (10 percent) while 12 percent of Latinx students graduate college with a STEM degree, lower than their share of bachelor’s degrees (15 percent). 

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