The Tidewater Community College Educational Foundation received a $10,000 donation from Wells Fargo in support of its scholarship program geared toward encouraging female and minority students to pursue careers in the science, technology, education and mathematics fields.
The TCC Women’s Center STEM Promise Program awards 20 scholarships annually to qualifying students. The scholarship pays tuition and fees for two full academic years at TCC.
“Women and minorities have historically been underrepresented in STEM,” said TCC President Gregory DeCinque at a ceremony held Oct. 26 on the Virginia Beach Campus. “TCC isn’t just making a promise to change that trend – we’re making a commitment.”
STEM educators and employers agree that a diverse talent pool is vital to create the technologies necessary to improve lives, ensure national security and better the economy. Yet, 84 percent of the STEM workforce is Caucasian or Asian male.
U.S. colleges are working to create a larger, more diverse STEM workforce pipeline. TCC established the Women’s Center STEM Promise Scholarship Program two years ago and will graduate its first class in May 2019.
George Ball, senior vice president at Wells Fargo, selected the scholarship program for a grant because it aligned with a growing need for STEM workers. “Math and science go hand-in-hand with the banking industry,” Ball said. “If we want to keep up with the rest of the world, we need to team up to train new engineers and cybersecurity specialists in Hampton Roads and then keep them here.”
STEM scholarship recipients, Courtney Carr, Christian McClenney, and Zachary Fuge talked about their educational goals and how the scholarship program has supported their academic endeavors.
“My passion is biomedical engineering,” McClenney said, “I’m enrolled as an engineering student. But I just signed up for the pharmacy technician program, too, so I can start exploring that side of medicine.”
“The TCC Educational Foundation is thrilled by Wells Fargo’s support for our STEM Promise program,” said Steven Jones, chief development officer for the foundation. “Our partnership with them will allow us to expand our program to better train students for the in-demand job skills of a 21st century workforce. Dedicated community partners such as Wells Fargo are critical as we come together as a region to empower students and build the local economy.”