STEM Educational Opportunities

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) majors have the potential to solve some of the world's biggest problems. Here are a few challenging--and rewarding--opportunities to help advance your STEM education.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) majors are the problem solvers of the world. To land a job in a related field, you need more than just a good GPA—real-world experience and a résumé that stands out from the competition will help you reach your goal. Here are four opportunities, including scholarships and initiatives, that can help boost your STEM education.

Scholarship America Dream Award

Scholarship America offers students entering their second year or higher of their education past high school the Dream Award. The scholarship started with a large donation from journalist Katie Couric. Students can receive between $5,000 and $15,000, and $1,000 will be added each year until graduation—that's up to five years of scholarship money.

The Dream Award offers STEM-specific scholarships for students with a minimum 3.0 GPA who demonstrate financial need. If those requirements are met, the organization then looks at community involvement through volunteering and leadership as well as a student's achievement of educational success while overcoming difficulties.

Although applications are not open yet, they should be available mid-October. The scholarship will be awarded for the 2014-2015 school year.

Verizon Foundation Innovative App Challenge

Verizon has teamed up with the Technology Student Association to give away some major prizes. Middle and high school students interested in STEM subjects can win a Samsung Galaxy Note tablet, up to $20,000 for their school, and a chance to work with MIT Media Lab experts.

Students will create a STEM-related app to solve a problem in their school or community. The winning apps will be developed by MIT's app development experts and made available for download on the Google Play store. Last October, the challenge's inaugural year attracted submissions from 471 teams.

App submissions are open through December 3. Tips and instructional videos are found on the Verizon Foundation’s App Challenge website.

Teach for America Math and Science Education Initiative

Teach for America has committed to recruit, train, and support teachers to teach STEM subjects to low-income communities throughout the U.S. The Math and Science Education Initiative plans to bring on 5,000 STEM teachers by 2015 to touch the lives of more than 350,000 students that year.

There are three goals for this initiative. The first is to partner with other organizations with similar objectives to increase the number of STEM “corps members,” or teachers. The second is to improve the program to support these STEM teachers. And the third goal is to “maximize the leadership and impact of our alumni in STEM education.”

Registration is now open. Interested students can e-mail for additional information.

White House Education to Innovate Initiative

In 2009, President Obama introduced the Educate to Innovate initiative to join with nonprofits, foundations, and societies to increase students’ achievements in math and science. More than $700 million has been put toward this initiative throughout the last four years, and there are many opportunities to get involved.

Like Teach for America, the coalition 100Kin10 is increasing the number of STEM teachers—recruiting 100,000 within 10 years. The Department of Energy has launched the Women in STEM mentoring program which brings STEM employees and female students together. Similarly, US2020 has been launched, which is a STEM mentoring program for students, from kindergarten through college.

You can visit the White House website to learn more about the Educate to Innovate initiative and to see all the opportunities available for students interested in STEM subjects.

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About Elizabeth Phillips

Elizabeth Phillips is a former biology teacher and current freelance writer. She is passionate about STEM education and helping students succeed. She can be found typing away on her laptop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She welcomes your feedback at


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