Recognizing a lack of diversity throughout the STEM workforce, in November of 2020, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Chemours and HBCU Week Foundation partnered to establish the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI). This national industry-wide program seeks to increase the number of underrepresented professionals in the STEM workforce by providing scholarships to students pursuing STEM degrees at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). FOSSI is dedicated to supporting those STEM Scholars who would otherwise not have access to a STEM education by eliminating financial barriers.
With funding from 43 chemical manufacturers and related industry stakeholders, the program is supporting 151 scholars, at an investment of $7.2 million in 2021. Our scholarship recipients represent 28 states, with students planning to attend 26 HBCUs. In its inaugural year, more than 1,700 high school students across the nation applied for FOSSI scholarships, demonstrating both the urgent need for this program and the enormous pool of untapped talent.
In order to deliver real impact for companies and our industry, our success will be measured by the following:
- Number of students participating in FOSSI
- Number of students successfully completing a STEM degree
- Number of internship hours provided to scholars
- Number of scholars hired by a FOSSI sponsoring company following graduation
- Substantial progress in funding a diverse STEM talent pipeline
Eligible applicants must:
- Complete or have completed high school with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (unweighted) and be entering their freshman year of college
- Have interest in pursuing a career in chemical manufacturing, engineering, environmental health and sustainability or other related chemical-industry fields
- Attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) for the entirety of their college education
- Demonstrate financial need
- Be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States
FOSSI is a core initiative of the AIChE Doing a World of Good campaign and its All for Good: Engineering for Inclusion priority, which is driving industry-wide improvement in equity, diversity and inclusion.
Note: FOSSI is envisioned as the first of several efforts designed to address the needs of underrepresented groups, toward our ultimate goal of 100% parity in our profession.