STEM majors awarded $25,000 per year for college

FREDDIE ALLEN | 6/15/2015, 8:10 a.m.
When Morgan Grayned opened the envelope from the Buick Achievers’ scholarship program and learned that she would receive $24,000 a ...

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – When Morgan Grayned opened the envelope from the Buick Achievers’ scholarship program and learned that she would receive $24,000 a year to attend college, she screamed and danced and ran around her house with the letter and posted it on Facebook. Her mom called the scholarship a blessing.

Grayned applied for the scholarship less than a week before high school graduation with limited expectations. That was four years ago. Recently, Grayned, 22, graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in finance from Hampton University on Mother’s Day, a great gift for her mom, a single parent who had wholeheartedly supported her throughout her entire academic career.

“Coming from a single-parent household, I just knew that I needed assistance to [pay] for college,” Grayned said. “I knew that I was going to go regardless, I just wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for it. The biggest thing for me with having the Buick Achievers’ scholarship is the fact that I didn’t have financial stress.”

She joined the Sigma Beta Delta Business Honor Society and Ebony Fire, Hampton’s dance troupe, where she was team captain her senior year.

She said that traveling with the football team and performing with the band were great experiences and provided a creative outlet while helping her to hone her leadership skills.

Those experiences may not have been possible without the scholarship. She was grateful to have the opportunity to be in the first wave of Buick Achievers to graduate.

The General Motors Foundation started the scholarship program in 2011 in an effort to increase the pipeline of students flowing into careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A 2013 study on STEM jobs conducted by the Census Bureau reported that Blacks account for just 6 percent of the STEM workforce even though they make up 11 percent of the labor market in the U.S.

Karen Nicklin, the manager of educational initiatives at the GM Foundation said that the group targeted first-generation students, veterans and children of veterans, children from diverse backgrounds and students from low-income households in an effort to ensure that a quality education was affordable and accessible to more students. Since the program’s inception, 3400 students have received nearly $28 million in scholarships to attend college.

“Students can receive up $25,000 dollars and the scholarships are renewable for up to five years for some eligible majors,” Nicklin said. “Those eligible majors are all STEM or automotive-related majors.”

Last year, 15 percent of the scholarship class was Black. Applicants have to enroll full-time at an accredited four-year college or university. There are more than 40 majors that are eligible through the program, including computer science, graphic design, finance and chemical engineering. A full list of majors and requirements is available at http://www.buickachievers.com.

Awards are renewable for the given years noted above or until a bachelor’s degree is earned, whichever occurs first. Renewal is contingent upon maintaining a cumulative 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), full-time enrollment and continuing to major in an eligible field of study, according to the program’s website.