DENVER – Increasing access to women in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields is vital for America to respond to today’s economic, infrastructure, and environmental challenges, according to researchers.

The American Indian College Fund, with the support of a four-year, $300,000 grant from the Clare Boothe Luce Program at the Henry Luce Foundation, will continue to help grow the number of Native American women – a group with the lowest representation in the STEM fields – by earning a college degree to forge their careers.

The American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) has more than 30 years of experience administering successful scholarship programs designed to support the access, retention, graduation, and workforce readiness of American Indian and Alaska Native scholars. The College Fund’s 2014-2018 Clare Boothe Luce Women’s STEM Tribal College Scholarship Program was one of its most successful to date. The program provided scholarships and wraparound services to participating students, ensuring a graduation rate of 100 percent.

The College Fund and Clare Boothe Luce Program will continue its success in increasing Native women studying and working in the STEM fields through a new, four-year, $300,000 scholarship program. The College Fund will award $75,000 to four outstanding AIAN 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 TCU.

Eligible students must be enrolled during the 2020-'21, 2022-'23, and 2023-'24 academic years and studying in qualifying hard science majors at a four-year degree-granting TCU. Areas of study include, but are not limited to, computer science, industrial engineering, electrical engineering, and hydrology. Preference will be given to students studying in fields in which AIAN are most underrepresented.

In addition to the scholarship award, the program will also provide AIAN 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.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said 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,” she said.

Students can apply online for the scholarship at www.collegefund.org/scholarships. The deadline to apply is May 31.

Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer" and provided $7.72 million in scholarships to 3,900 American Indian students in 2018-19, with nearly 137,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $208 million since its inception. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, visit www.collegefund.org.

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