FOSSI | Future of STEM Scholars - FAQs

FOSSI Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

See below for a list of frequently asked questions about the Future of Stem Scholars Initiative including information on how to apply, acceptable majors, deadlines, and the decision making process.

What is FOSSI?

  • Founded by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Chemours and HBCU Week Foundation, the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) is a national program which seeks to increase the number of underrepresented professionals in the chemical industry workforce by providing scholarships to students pursuing preferred* STEM degrees at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). FOSSI also connects scholars to leadership development, mentoring, and internship opportunities at sponsoring companies.
  • Sponsored by chemical manufacturers and related industry stakeholders, FOSSI provides scholarship recipients $10,000 per year for four years.

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What are the measures of success for the FOSSI program?

  • Number of students participating in FOSSI
  • Number of students successfully completing a preferred STEM degree
  • Number of internship hours provided to scholars
  • Number of scholars hired by a FOSSI sponsoring company following graduation
  • Substantial progress in funding the STEM talent pipeline

Which STEM majors are pertinent to the chemical industries?

  • *Preferred STEM majors are identified on a yearly basis by FOSSI administrators based on relevance to the chemical industry and supporting sponsor preferences. Preferred majors may include, but are not limited to: Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Material Science, Sustainability, Environmental Science, Agriculture Science, Physics, and Biology. FOSSI is not intended for students interested in pursuing careers in nursing, medicine, psychology, social sciences and other associated fields. Some fields of study which may be considered STEM may not qualify for FOSSI scholarships.

How are scholars funded?

To help facilitate engagement from companies of all sizes, corporations and individuals can underwrite FOSSI scholars at various financial levels.

How many scholarships are awarded?

In our inaugural year, 151 scholarships were awarded. The number of future scholarships awarded will depend on funding obtained from underwriting companies.

What are the criteria for applying?

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

Are family members and employees of founding partners, sponsoring companies and those involved in the application review process eligible to apply?

FOSSI welcomes applications from children of employees of Founding Partners and Sponsoring organizations, excluding executive-level participants or members of the scholarship review committee. If you have questions about eligibility, please contact Students applying for the scholarship will be responsible for disclosing any potential conflict of interest prior to the selection process. 

Are the scholarships available to everyone?

The scholarship is available to anyone who meets the stated criteria. 

How does FOSSI complement AIChE’s Henry and Melinda Brown Scholarships and other related scholarships?

This initiative adds components of educational and vocational support, offering opportunities for leadership development, mentoring and internships; it is open to Brown Scholarship recipients.

How can I apply?

What is the deadline for applications?

Applicants must complete and submit a scholarship application by January 31.

Who may file the application?

The student must file the application.

What is the decision process for scholarships?

A selection committee convened by the HBCU Week Foundation will work with FOSSI partners including AIChE, ACC, and Chemours, and award the scholarship based on a comprehensive evaluation process. 

When are applicants informed whether they will receive a scholarship?

The HCBU Week Foundation will notify the recipients of their selection via phone call, email, and official letter no later than June 1.

How much is the scholarship?

  • If selected as a recipient, the student will receive scholarships of $10,000 per year for up to four years, totaling up to $40,000. The FOSSI scholarship can be used for tuition, and university-provided room and board. 
  • The multi-year scholarship will be reviewed annually and is contingent upon staying in a preferred STEM major as well as satisfactory academic performance (maintaining a 2.5. out of 4.0 GPA) in a full-time course of study at an HBCU. 

How are scholarships reviewed over time?

The multi-year scholarship will be reviewed annually and is contingent upon satisfactory academic performance (maintaining a 2.5. out of 4.0 GPA) in a full-time course of STEM study at an HBCU. 

Is the scholarship limited to undergraduate study?

Yes, the scholarship is limited to undergraduate study.

Are there additional benefits to the scholarship recipient?

Yes, the FOSSI program will offer students leadership development, mentoring and internship opportunities, as well as other training and special events. Scholars will be also paired with a corporate sponsor who will be available for additional support.

Are all FOSSI scholars guaranteed internships?

Internships are not guaranteed, but sponsoring companies will offer internship opportunities, and scholars who are rising sophomores and juniors will be eligible to apply. We hope to have a robust pool of offerings and will make every effort to accommodate students who want an internship.

How many internship opportunities are available?

This will vary annually, and will depend on the sponsoring companies and how many positions are available.  

Are internships paid?

Internship compensation varies according to each sponsor company’s policies.

Can students accept other scholarship offers in combination with the FOSSI Scholarship? 

The FOSSI scholarship can be used for tuition, and university-provided room and board. A student can accept additional scholarships but they cannot exceed the total cost of their education.

How are scholarships paid?

AIChE will pay the scholarship directly to the scholar’s HBCU educational institution per semester prior to payment deadlines. Funding will be applied to the student’s account for tuition, and university-provided room and board.  

What happens if a student has to delay their year of study?  Can the scholarship be postponed?

In the event of unanticipated events, we will work with the scholar to arrive at the best possible outcome.

If a student changes their STEM major during college, are they still eligible for the scholarship?

Preferred STEM majors are identified on a yearly basis by FOSSI administrators based on relevance to the chemical industry and supporting sponsor preferences. We anticipate that some students will change their majors over the course of their college career.  If the major is in an approved STEM field, this will not affect their FOSSI scholarship. However, if a student decides to switch to another field of study, outside of STEM, they may no longer be eligible for the scholarship. 

What if a student transfers to a college that is not an HBCU?

The FOSSI Scholarship is open to students pursuing STEM studies at an HBCU; if a student transfers to a non-HBCU, they are no longer eligible for the scholarship.

Learn more about FOSSI's partners, commitment, and focus