Innovative scholarship model aims to support and launch STEM careers for local students
For Immediate Release
May 9, 2018
Jessica Monger, External Affairs Director, Washington State Opportunity Scholarship
Lee Lambert, Network Director, Washington STEM
Spokane, WA – The innovative public-private partnership known as the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) announces its newest cohort of 1,862 Scholars — 110 of whom hail from the Spokane area and are eligible to receive up to $2,475,000 in scholarship support to attend eligible universities and colleges in Washington state.
“We are thrilled to support this cohort of Washington state students ready to pursue a pathway to the jobs our economy needs,” said Naria Santa Lucia, executive director of WSOS. “Our unique suite of student support services coupled with financial support will prepare these students to be the future of Washington’s workforce.”
This cohort of scholarship recipients represents the seventh since WSOS was first created in 2011. The scholarship provides up to $22,500 in financial aid along with innovative student support services designed to reduce barriers for low- and middle-income students to pursue a high-demand science, technology engineering, math (STEM) or health care degree and launch a career in Washington state.
This year’s applicant pool represents the most competitive yet with nearly 5,000 applications submitted – 1,000 additional applicants than the year prior. Local STEM Networks, managed by the nonprofit Washington STEM organization, have helped raise awareness of WSOS in communities throughout the state.
“We are incredibly proud to support another cohort of Spokane’s best and brightest students as they pursue their academic goals of a four-year degree,” said Jessica Monger, director of external affairs for WSOS. “We are excited to provide these students with access to the education and career development opportunities they need to be able to contribute to Spokane’s robust STEM and health care industries.”
Supporting STEM education across the state is critical to Washington’s future economy. Every region in Washington continues to grapple with a shortage of students graduating with the STEM degrees and training needed to meet employer demand. The unique model of private sector investment from companies like Microsoft and Boeing, matched dollar-for-dollar by the state of Washington is helping fill the gap; 92% of 2016 graduates were employed in their field or pursuing an advanced degree within nine months.
WSOS has supported more than 6,700 Scholars from every county and legislative district in Washington state to date. WSOS will serve 16,000 by 2025 thanks to robust public and private support.
WSOS is a unique, public-private partnership that provides low- and middle-income students with financial assistance, career services and other student supports. WSOS is committed to preparing our students to be the face of Washington’s workforce by reducing barriers to earning degrees in high-demand science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and health care fields.
About Washington STEM
At Washington STEM we work to increase STEM access, interest, and success for all students. We nurture and scale breakthrough ideas in STEM education and learning, engage in regional, cross-sector partnerships, and advocate for important policy changes to increase student success. We focus our efforts on four key initiatives: computer science, early math, science & engineering, and career-connected learning.
Our goal is to position all young people as “future ready” community members – people with the technical and critical skills needed to thrive in today’s jobs and create and excel in the unknown jobs of tomorrow; people who exemplify opportunity and create shared prosperity for our communities.