Scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 are available for aspiring Hispanic engineers through the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
The deadline for the Advancing Hispanic Excellence in Technology, Engineering, Math and Science scholarships is Apr. 1 and undergraduate and graduate students interested are encouraged to complete applications available on SHPE’s website.
Students awarded the scholarship money can use it for a variety of education expenses, such as books or tuition, said Rafaela Schwan, director of programs for AHETEMS.
[The scholarship] is twofold because it gives money to students in need of financial help and it’s a great way to encourage Hispanic students to pursue a career in engineering, Schwan said.
Aside from a general AHETEMS scholarship, several other scholarships are available to Hispanic students. Companies such as Verizon Wireless, Kellogg and Exxon Mobile sponsor the various scholarships. Students may apply to any or all with the same application, however the requirements for each are different.
In addition to applying online, students must also provide a letter of recommendation and transcript. The scholarships require students to maintain a 3.0 GPA in science, engineering, technology or math majors.
Maintaining this GPA and financially supporting their education is difficult for engineers, especially for lower-income students, said Eric Uribe, fifth-year senior mechanical engineering major and co-vice president of Chicano and Latino Engineers and Scientists Society (CALESS).
Working and engineering can be difficult, Uribe said. Engineers have to take a lot of units, so it’s nice to have one less thing to worry about, and it motivates students to keep above 3.0.
The scholarship addresses the issue of minorities not graduating from four-year universities at the same rate as Caucasians. A recent UC Davis study found that although the amount of Latino and African American students entering colleges has increased significantly, the amount of students that completes their education is still quite low due to the low income prevalent in minority groups.
Scholarships that reduce the cost of attending college and provide academic support for students can be effective ways to keep students in college and provide the types of supports necessary for students to see through their degree objectives, said Michal Kurleander, assistant professor of education and director of the study in an e-mail interview.
Hispanics comprise the fastest growing population in the United States, but only 5.5 percent of the science and engineering workforce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The lack of representation in this field has led programs such as SHPE to encourage minorities to diversify the work force. The task is important, said Veronica Coleman, a first-year chemical engineering major.
Jobs in engineering need many different people looking at these problems, she said. All things with engineering are a team project so Latinos from poorer backgrounds can represent the perspective of having financial burdens.
The application on AHETEMS website can be used for all or some of the scholarships. Visit www.ahetems.org for more information or for internship opportunities.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at email@example.com.