Timothy Peck
8 min read Financial Aid,Scholarships

10 Awesome Scholarships for Women in STEM

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Women are largely underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Despite making up roughly 50% of the workforce, women fill only 28% of STEM jobs. In recent years though, more female students have been studying STEM in college—in 2016, more than 200,000 women graduated with a STEM degree, compared to just over 140,000 in 2009. However, the number of men studying STEM has grown even faster, resulting in a widening of the gender gap in STEM fields. 


Because of the gender gap in STEM fields, there’s an effort to attract more women to STEM. Part of that effort is through college scholarships. If you’re planning to study STEM in college, keep reading to learn about the 10 best scholarships for women in STEM. 


10 Best Scholarships for Women in STEM


1.The Science Ambassador Scholarship

Amount: Full tuition 

Deadline: Application open in the fall

Eligibility: Female high school senior or college undergraduate

Application Requirements: Three-minute video of yourself explaining a STEM topic that you’re passionate about


Funded by the party game Cards Against Humanity, the Science Ambassador Scholarship provides a full-tuition scholarship to a woman studying science, technology, engineering, or math. One of most generous scholarships for women in STEM you’ll find, this substantial reward requires you to create a three-minute video about any STEM topic and upload it to YouTube. Structure the video like a mini-lecture, make sure it’s scientifically accurate, and cite sources. Don’t worry about production value, as the judges are focused on content. 


2. Society of Women Engineers Scholarship Program

Amount: $15,000

Deadline: February 14, 2021; 5:00 pm Central Time


  • Identify as a female/woman
  • Planning on studying full-time at an ABET-accredited program in engineering, technology, or computing in the upcoming academic year


Application Requirements:

  • Transcript
  • Resume
  • 2 Recommendations (personal and faculty) 


In 2018, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) disbursed more than $830,000 through 238 new and renewed scholarships—one of which is their scholarship aimed at undergraduates intending to study engineering. To win this valuable female-focused STEM scholarship, you’re encouraged to demonstrate enthusiasm for and active involvement in engineering. In addition to a passion for engineering, the SWE is searching for academically excellent candidates who participate in extracurricular and volunteer activities. 


3. Women Techmakers Scholars Program

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: TBD 


  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Intend to enroll as a full-time student in a Bachelors program at an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada for the following academic year
  • Planning on studying computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related technical field—or studying video game programming, game engineering, game design and development, or a closely related field in gaming
  • Demonstrate leadership and a passion for increasing women’s involvement in technology
  • Strong academic record


Application Requirements:

  • Transcript
  • Resume
  • Reference from a professor, instructor, advisor, or supervisor
  • Answer 4 essay questions 


Founded to encourage women to participate and lead in the tech industry, the Women Techmakers Scholars Program is open to all qualifying students and strongly encourages women to apply. One of the higher-awarding scholarships for girls in STEM, recipients are chosen based on the strength of their academics, along with their impact on diversity and leadership. In addition to a generous award, Women Techmaker Scholars are invited to attend the Google Scholars Retreat, providing them an opportunity to connect with other recipients, network with Google employees, and participate in workshops. 


4. Palantir Women in Technology Scholarship

Amount: $7,000 

Deadline: March 22, 2020; 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time


  • Identify as a woman
  • Freshman, sophomore, or junior majoring in or planning to major in STEM
  • A full-time undergraduate student enrolled in an accredited U.S., Canadian, or Mexican college/university in both the current and upcoming academic year


Application Requirements:

  • Transcript
  • Resume
  • Answer 2 short (200-400 word) essay questions 
    • What project have you worked on or participated in that you felt had a significant impact? What was your contribution to this project? 
    • Tell us about an opportunity that you took advantage of. How did you make the most of it?


Launched in 2010 by the software company Palantir, the Palantir Women in Technology is one of the more valuable scholarships for girls in STEM—10 recipients receive $7,000 grants, along with an all-expenses-paid trip to the company’s Palo Alto, California headquarters where they will participate in a developmental workshop. 


5. BHW Women in STEM Scholarship

Amount: $3,000

Deadline: April 15, 2020 


  • Female
  • Pursuing an undergraduate or master’s degree and majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) 
  • Attending or planning to attend college or university in the U.S.  


Application Requirements:

  • 500-800 word essay on one of two prompts: Tell us about your favorite app and what you like about it OR Tell us about a time an app played a significant role in improving your day.


The BHW Group is an Austin, Texas-based custom web and mobile app development company. Made up of designers, developers, and architects, BHW is passionate about software and creating intuitive applications. One of the more valuable STEM scholarships for females, the BHW Women in STEM Scholarship offers a $3,000 award for a winning essay about apps. 

6. Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: April 1, 2020


  • Full-time female undergraduate student enrolled in an accredited college that awards Bachelor of Science or Arts degrees
  • Majoring in Engineering, Math, or Biological or Physical Sciences


Application Requirements:

  • A short bio including career goals 
  • A 500- to 1,000-word essay on one of seven topics


Named after the American chemist, biochemist, and engineer, Virginia “Ginny” Heinlein (also the third wife of notable science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein), the Virginia Heinlein Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a female candidate majoring in engineering, math, or biological or physical sciences. One of the more highly-valued STEM scholarships for females, the winner is chosen through an essay contest focusing on topics and themes woven throughout Virginia Heinlein’s husband’s work. 


7. ABC Humane Wildlife Academic Scholarship—Women In STEM

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: July 1, 2020; 11:59 pm


  • Identify as a female/woman
  • Studying or planning to study the fields of science (excluding social sciences, i.e. economics), engineering, mathematics, or technology


Application Requirements:

  • Essay answering the question Why are you passionate about science, technology, engineering, or math, and how will your pursuit of these fields help preserve biodiversity, improve the health of our planet, or alleviate human suffering?
  • Letter of reference
  • Proof of enrollment


The ABC Humane Wildlife Academic Scholarship was created by Urban Wildlife Manager and entrepreneur, Rebecca Fyffe, who is uniquely positioned in her industry as a female business owner—only 3% of pest control and management firms are owned by women. Fyffe credits her business and research success to her STEM background, and developed the ABC Humane Wildlife Academic Scholarship to increase the number of women studying STEM by providing them with the chance to pursue STEM degrees. 


8. Girls in STEM (GIS) Scholarship 

Amount: $500

Deadline: TBD


  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Enrolled in good standing in an accredited STEM-related undergraduate program in the U.S.
  • Advocate for female participation in STEM programs
  • Involved in the community
  • Financial need


Application Requirements:

  • 1-2 page essay explaining why you’re pursuing a career in a STEM-related field, how you’ve advocated for female access to STEM programs and professionals, and how you intend to use the award 


The Girls in STEM (GIS) Scholarship was funded to increase access and participation of women in STEM fields and help the next generation of young, women STEM students reach their academic goals. Offering a modest award to academically-accomplished female students studying STEM in college, recipients must also be passionate about furthering the inclusion of women in STEM fields, and work in their communities to promote this cause.  


9. AfterCollege STEM Inclusion Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: Mar 31, 2020; 11:59 pm


  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Enrolled students working toward a degree in STEM from a group underrepresented in their field of study–underrepresented groups are defined by gender, race, ethnic background, disability, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, nationality, and other non-visible differences


Application Requirements:

  • Transcript
  • Resume
  • Any honors or awards you’ve received


AfterCollege, the online provider that connects job-seeking college students and alumni with employers, has awarded more than $1,000,000 in scholarships and student activities to date. Although the AfterCollege STEM Inclusion Scholarship is not limited to female applicants, it’s focused on underrepresented groups, of which women are included, which makes it worth targeting for any woman working toward a STEM degree.  


10. HORIZONS Women in Defense Scholarship

Amount: Varies 

Deadline: March 15, 2020; 12:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time


  • Women enrolled or expected to enroll at an accredited university or college—either full-time or part-time—by the next academic term
  • Interest in pursuing a career related to national security or defense
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Minimum GPA of 3.25
  • U.S. Citizen


Application Requirements:

  • Preferred fields of study: security studies, military history, government relations, engineering, computer science, cybersecurity, physics, mathematics, business (as it relates to national security or defense), law (as it relates to national security or defense), international relations, political science, policy and diplomacy, intelligence, and economics
  • Transcript
  • 500-word essay
  • Two letters of recommendation 
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship


Although not STEM-specific, HORIZONS has awarded more than a half-million dollars to more than 150 recipients pursuing degrees ranging from STEM fields such as engineering and math to non-STEM sectors like public policy since 1988. The Women in Defense Scholarship’s intention is to increase diversity and innovation in national security and defense by investing in high-performing women. 

How Outside Scholarships Impact Your Financial Aid Award


Outside scholarships (scholarships not directly provided by your college) are an excellent way to offset the cost of higher education; however, they can also negatively affect the amount of financial aid you receive. Schools may consider the scholarship an asset—increasing your family’s contribution and decreasing your financial aid package. On a positive note, when schools adjust financial aid packages to account for scholarships, they generally remove or decrease the least desirable forms of aid, such as work-study contributions. Check out our blog post How Outside Scholarships Impact Your Financial Aid Award for an in-depth look at how scholarships impact financial aid. 


5 Tips for Applying for Scholarships


1. Polish Your Presence


The people awarding scholarships want recipients to reflect well on their company, foundation, society, etc. With this in mind, they may Google you before handing out an award (after all, Google sponsors the Women Techmaker Scholars Program). Audit your social media profiles and clean up anything that could cost you a scholarship and freshen up (or create) a professional account on LinkedIn. Building a website or online portfolio is an easy way to take some control over the search and show off your tech skills. 


2. Stand Out From the Crowd


The majority of the scholarships listed above require an essay or video along with the application. This is your opportunity to stand out from the competition, as you can share your personality, highlight what’s important to you, and explain why you deserve to win. Here are a few tips for constructing an essay that wows or scripting a winning video: 


  • Make an outline: you have a lot to say in limited time or words, an outline helps you stay focused
  • Know your audience: know who is reading/watching, what they’re interested in, and what they’re looking for and tailor your content to them
  • Stick to the script: follow the prompt and answer the question asked
  • Follow instructions: stay within word counts and time limits 
  • Show, don’t tell: demonstrate what you’ve done and provide examples of your experiences
  • Stay positive: the people awarding scholarships want to feel good about what they’re doing; if your focus is on a negative part of your life, focus on the good that came from it 


3. No Silly Mistakes


Whether it’s filling out your application or writing your essay, avoid standing out from the crowd for the wrong reasons. When applying for competitive scholarships, silly mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and grammar can mean the difference between winning an award and coming up empty handed. 


4. Get Remarkable Recommendations


Many of the scholarships listed above require accompanying letters of recommendation. It’s common courtesy to leave your letter writer at least a month to compose their letter. In addition to leaving them enough time to write a compelling recommendation, be sure to provide them with an overview of the scholarship, your related strengths, a copy of your resume, and any other relevant information. 


5. Apply for Lots of Scholarships


Although there is no way to ensure winning an award, the more scholarships you apply for, the greater your chances are of winning one. Don’t just apply to the big awards like the The Science Ambassador Scholarship; it’s surprising how quickly winning a few smaller awards like the AfterCollege STEM Inclusion Scholarship can add up to a considerable amount of money. 


CollegeVine can’t tell you your chances of winning a prestigious STEM scholarship, but we can help predict your odds of college admission. Our free chancing engine uses criteria like GPA, test scores, and extracurricular activities to predict your likelihood of acceptance at over 500 colleges and universities. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account to start using our chancing engine today!

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Timothy Peck

Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.

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