How Do Women Qualify for STEM Scholarships in San Diego?

December 18, 2021

It probably comes as no surprise that a lack of diversity exists in the STEM workforce in the United States. Women are still largely outnumbered by their male counterparts, and Black and Latina women are underrepresented compared to Asian and white women. Women with advanced degrees have a higher likelihood of securing jobs in the STEM field; however, they remain underrepresented overall.


What is being done to change this?


Thankfully, an increasing number of universities and employers are taking action to shift these statistics.


One way they are doing so: putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak. More organizations across San Diego County and nationwide are offering financial scholarships for women to help reduce the diversity gap.


Curious about how you can take advantage of these scholarship awards? Read on to learn about the local scholarship options in San Diego, eligibility requirements, how to apply, and more.



Two black women STEM scholars


Unfortunately, when it comes to the STEM workforce, the diversity gap remains prevalent across the United States. Here are some of the current statistics.

Women in STEM Statistics


Women make up only about 28% of the STEM workforce

According to recent research, women comprise only about 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering, and math careers, even if they studied those fields in college.(1)


Only 21% of engineering majors and 19% of computer science majors are women

When it comes to undergraduate studies, women are significantly underrepresented in STEM majors as well. Only about 21% of engineering majors are women, and only about 19% of computer and information science majors are women. Out of these already low numbers, only 38% of women who majored in computer-related studies are actually working in those fields today, and only 24% of engineering majors are working in the field.(1)


Black and Hispanic employees continue to be underrepresented in the STEM workforce

Black people make up 11% of the U.S. workforce overall but represent 9% of STEM workers, while Latinos comprise 16% of the U.S. workforce, but only about 7% of all STEM workers. And among employed adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, Black people make up 7% and Latinos make up about 6%.(2)


Latina and Black women in STEM earn around $33,000 less than men

The diversity gap is particularly high regarding some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering, according to AAUW statistics.(1) On average, Men in STEM have annual salaries that are nearly $15,000 higher per year than women ($85,000 compared to $60,828).  And Latina and Black women in STEM earn around $33,000 less (at an average of around $52,000 a year).(1)


So, how do we shift this paradigm? One way is by taking advantage of the STEM scholarships that are available.


What are STEM scholarships?

If you’re wondering what a STEM scholarship is, here’s a quick definition. STEM scholarships are financial scholarships you can apply for to help pay for a STEM degree. If you’re planning on pursuing a college major like science, technology, engineering, computer science, math, or a related field, you may be eligible to apply for one.


Organizations, educational institutions, and employers award this money on the basis of financial need or merit. However, students do need to show an interest and investment in these areas of study and dedicate themselves to science, technology, engineering, or math majors to qualify for many of these scholarships. Typically, there are also minimum GPA requirements.


How do women qualify for STEM scholarships in San Diego?

Wondering which local scholarships are available in San Diego? Here’s a list of some of the top local STEM scholarships, who’s eligible, how to apply, and more.



San Diego Air & Space Museum Scholarships

The San Diego Air & Space Museum offers three STEM-related competitive scholarship programs for San Diego County graduating seniors who plan to attend a four-year college or university. The Bill Gibbs, R.A. Rearwin, and Jennings Kelly Scarborough scholarships are each reserved for students with strong aviation or aerospace-related interests.
Who is eligible: San Diego seniors who plan to pursue a degree in mathematics, physics, science, or engineering.

Deadline: April 1, 2022

How to apply: Apply here.


San Diego Foundation Scholarships

The San Diego Foundation has a variety of scholarships from local organizations available to San Diego students.

Who is eligible: Varies

Deadline: Varies

How to apply: View this page for more information


San Diego County Scholarships

There are also scholarships available through the County of San Diego.

Who is eligible: Varies

Deadline: Varies

How to apply: View this page for more information


National Scholarships 

In addition to these local scholarship options, national scholarships for female students are also available. Check out this page and these 5 scholarships for women in STEM.


At SD2, we are passionate about improving diversity in the STEM workforce, helping encourage female and underrepresented students to pursue the STEM career of their dreams.


Our mission is to empower tomorrow’s STEM leaders today by connecting these students to the power of STEM, providing them with access to education, mentorship, and the resources they need to lead tomorrow’s workforce.


Learn more on our website or please contact us.