On Wednesday, July 13, the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) welcomed its second class of scholars at a virtual gathering of 300 students, family, friends and corporate partners.
The program celebrated the new class of 144 FOSSI scholars, who are from 25 states and will be attending 34 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) this fall. The event was also an occasion to congratulate the 2021 FOSSI scholars on completing their first year of college.
The leading voices
Speakers included Ashley Christopher, Founder and CEO of HBCU Week Foundation, FOSSI Chair Mark Vergnano, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) President Dr. Christine Grant and the Chemours Company’s Chief Brand Officer, Alvenia Scarborough. Guests also enjoyed an inspiring video introducing the 2022 Scholars.
Christopher, a double HBCU alum, knows firsthand the value of attending an HBCU, telling the students, “This is your once in a lifetime chance to be surrounded by people who look like you in an educational setting, with the same goals and aspirations...I cannot wait to see what you do as you embark on your educational and career journeys.”
Vergnano speaks on FOSSI's accomplishments
Vergnano highlighted FOSSI’s goal to bring diverse perspectives into the chemical industry to help unlock solutions to our world’s greatest challenges. He also shared his excitement about the program’s progress so far, including raising over $17 million to fund more than 350 scholarships.
Vergnano noted, “The students chosen for the 2022 class, all of you right here, along with the students in our inaugural class, represent some of the hardest-working, brightest scholars from around the country. To the parents, teachers, friends and family here today, I’d like to commend you for helping to develop these students into the accomplished scholars that are with us today. Thank you for growing, supporting and building our world’s future leaders.”
AIChE's president shares her personal journey to success
Grant spoke of her personal journey and the importance of resilience for success, advising students to “learn the rules; pay your dues; and, make it you”. She also noted the value of finding a mentor and partnering with people who help promote your intellectual, mental and spiritual growth.
Scarborough touches on the importance of staying engaged
Scarborough’s concluding remarks outlined the many benefits of a FOSSI scholarship and engagement in the Fundamentals of Success, telling scholars, “FOSSI provides you with scholarship money, but there are many more benefits…the more active and engaged that you are in FOSSI, the more opportunities are going to come your way.” She noted the program’s aim to help students finish college well-positioned for a great career with one of the 60 FOSSI sponsor companies.
Following the speakers, participants broke out into small networking groups to introduce and connect FOSSI students and corporate sponsors.