Our first quarter builds on the momentum we began last year to open scholarship applications and promote those opportunities among students, instructors and institutions. This year, we’ve seen a 95% increase in scholarship applications. Of particular note, female student applications doubled, minority student applications nearly tripled, and minority female participation rate increased by a factor of four.
Every application is evaluated and scored three times, by an army of dedicated volunteers across the country. Ultimately, it is the SME Education Foundation Scholarship Committee that awards scholarships to the select students who excel in their manufacturing and engineering studies. I encourage you to meet our recipients here.
I’m personally proud of our abilities in the administration of this effort, despite the constraints of working through unprecedented and continuing pandemic challenges: Scholarships are central to our mission to inspire, prepare and support young people in their pursuit of manufacturing and engineering education and training.
Manufacturing needs young people – energetic, accomplished, diverse and driven. Our mandate is to make young people aware of their opportunities, help them correct misconceptions about manufacturing – and support them as they acquire the skills and knowledge they’ll need to succeed. SME and the SME Education Foundation have worked to fund, administer and award scholarships for decades: Since 2005, the Foundation has awarded more than $8 million to nearly 3,500 students.
Applications for 2021 SME Education Foundation scholarships have been reviewed; our notification and announcement of recipients and awards continues through the second quarter: stay tuned – and share the good news about support and opportunity in manufacturing.