Future of STEM Scholars Initiative Raises More Than $17 Million to Support STEM Education at HBCUs
Several leading organizations in the chemical and affiliated industries have announced their DEI program, the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI). It has raised $17 million to fund more than 350 students attending HBCU schools.
According to a release by the American Chemistry Council, FOSSI supports students from underrepresented communities pursuing studies in a wide range of STEM fields, including mechanical engineering, chemistry, and environmental sciences.
Last year, the program’s first, 151 scholarships were provided to HBCU students. This fall, FOSSI’s program will support 144 more scholarships for HBCU students as part of its goal to support 1,000 scholarships by 2025.
Jadyn Fleming, a 2021 FOSSI scholarship recipient attending Spelman College, shared how vital FOSSI’s scholarship was to her and other HBCU students.
“FOSSI is helping not only me, but HBCU students nationwide to pursue their goals…By alleviating a portion of the financial burdens that I am facing, FOSSI has invested in the future of STEM.”
FOSSI’s support of HBCU STEM students goes beyond tuition assistance. The program also connects students with more than 50 corporate sponsors, including Chevron, Cargill, and ExxonMobil. It includes a four-year skills development program that will provide leadership training, mentoring, and internship opportunities at organizations that support FOSSI’s mission.
“With an ambitious goal of funding 1,000 HBCU students, FOSSI aims to have a significant and meaningful impact on the future workforce,” Mark Vergnano, FOSSI’s chairman and former CEO of The Chemours Co., said in a statement. “These talented scholarship recipients bring new and diverse perspectives to help innovate the solutions that will address global challenges like clean energy and climate change.”
HBCU schools have benefitted from a slew of student programs and college-to-career pipelines in STEM subjects and technology. Apple, Google, Amazon, Strada, and even Walmart have all started HBCU programs in the aftermath of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement and focus on racial justice.
“It made a big difference, knowing I could count on that funding. Plus, the mentoring program has been very helpful. It’s given me insight into how business works and what I can expect once I finish my degree,” Carlton Carter, a sophomore at Southern University, added.