Tomorrow’s chemical engineers and scientists will power the circular economy and innovate our business in new and creative ways. However, the pathways to achieving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees show there are too many roadblocks for women and minorities, and in particular for Black students. LyondellBasell provided scholarships to 10 students pursuing STEM education at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) through the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI).
According to the journal Education Researcher, 40% of Black and 37% of Latino STEM students switch majors before earning a degree, compared with 29% of white STEM students. Another 26% of Black STEM students and 20% of Latino STEM students drop out of college altogether— compared with 13% of white STEM students.
Access to financial support is a key factor limiting underrepresented students from continuing their STEM degrees. Our support of FOSSI is one effort to address these inequalities. “It is through partnerships like these, that Black and brown children nationwide can actualize their full potential at HBCUs while minimizing the burden of student debt,” said Ashley Christopher, Esq., President and CEO of HBCU Week Foundation.
FOSSI is an American Institute of Chemical Engineers initiative made possible through industry support. In addition to providing STEM scholarships, it facilitates internships, leadership development and mentoring opportunities.
HBCUs educated approximately 46% of Black women who earned STEM degrees between 2008 – 2012 and are the origin institution for 30% of Black doctorate graduates in the areas of science and engineering.
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