For 30 years, FIRST® has been capturing imaginations and inspiring future technology leaders and innovators. According to the Brandeis University Longitudinal Study, of the many students who participate in FIRST programs:
“2.6X are more likely to enroll in an engineering course in their freshman year and more than 75 percent of them are in a STEM field, either as a student or as a professional. FIRST participants are twice as likely as non-FIRST students to choose a science or engineering major when they get to college, and a large majority of FIRST participants report increased time management skills, problem solving skills, and other transferable skills that serve them in any profession they choose.”
Industry leaders believe all promising students should have the opportunity to pursue a STEM education and career; with that in mind, there are numerous scholarships available to FIRST alumni who are ready to go on to college, thanks to the generosity of some of our FIRST in Texas Statewide Partners. For example:
Earlier this year, BAE Systems announced a new annual nation-wide scholarship and internship program for high school seniors interested in pursuing a science, technology, engineering, or math career. Not only will eight deserving students receive scholarship money, to be given incrementally over their four years at their chosen college or university, they’ll also get a paid summer internship at BAE Systems. This is an incredible opportunity for them to gain valuable first-hand experience with a company that is leading the way in defense, aerospace, and security technology. In some cases, it may even lead them to their first job after college.
As evidence of that commitment to community and leadership, BAE Systems has been proudly supporting FIRST for more than 25 years, recognizing the power of these programs to spark interest in STEM subjects and pave the way for the next generation of great science, math, and engineering minds. (In fact, more than 30 percent of new hires at BAE Systems have participated in FIRST programs.) Employees at BAE Systems volunteer as mentors and coaches—some of them were former FIRST participants themselves—and the company sponsors more than 80 FIRST teams every year. FIRST in Texas is honored to call them our partners in STEM advocacy and education.
Recently, Lockheed Martin announced they will be awarding 200 deserving students with $10,000 scholarships, renewable up to three times (giving each student a potential award total of $40,000). These awards will focus on underserved communities and underrepresented groups. Qualified applicants who demonstrate financial need and who are planning to enroll in a four-year U.S. college or university to pursue a degree in STEM fields like aerospace engineering, math, computer science, systems engineering, physics, information systems, and more are welcome to apply. Scholarship winners are encouraged to consider an internship with Lockheed Martin, which gives them a fantastic opportunity for real-world experience and networking. Every year, up to an additional 200 students will be selected for a scholarship, bringing Lockheed Martin’s contribution to STEM scholars to at least $30 million over five years.
Aligning with their commitment to expand the engineering workforce pipeline, enable promising students to complete their studies, and advance the field of mechanical engineering, ASME awards dozens of scholarships to ASME student members every year. Each scholarship may have slightly different requirements, and these awards are available to students already enrolled in their college, community college, or university degree program. Students must be pursuing a mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology degree, or a closely related engineering degree. Financial need as well as participation and leadership in ASME are both heavily considered in the selection process.
The scholarships opportunities mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to scholarship options available to FIRST participants. In 2019, there is more than $80 million from 200 scholarship providers available to FIRST alumni. We continue to see this amount increase from year to year as more and more companies invest in the future by supporting these students. Which is great news for FIRST program participants. However, in years past there have been scholarships which have gone unclaimed. Hard to believe, right? One way we can make sure that all scholarships are awarded is to encourage more FIRST program participants to #ApplyApplyApply.
Though scholarship applications tend to be open to high school seniors and current college students, it’s not too early for your FIRST participants to take a look at scholarships they may apply for when the time is right! No matter how they hope to contribute to his or her STEM field, these resources may be an integral part of the journey.
Every year, partners like BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, and ASME help qualified and deserving students receive the educational financial resources they will need to thrive in STEM fields. These companies and others like them recognize the value of investing in our young people and encouraging them to use their skills, interest, and drive to pursue STEM careers. Thanks to their vision and generosity, FIRST participants can continue to follow their passions into the working world, becoming the leaders we all need as we move into the future. We’re grateful for their belief in the potential of these students and their support of FIRST in Texas.