STEM majors awarded $25,000 per year for college

Freddie Allen, NNPA Senior Washington Correspondent | 6/15/2015, 11:13 a.m.
When Morgan Grayned opened the envelope from the Buick Achievers’ scholarship program and learned that she would receive $24,000 a ...
Morgan Grayned, Buick Achiever from Hampton University.

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – When Morgan Grayned opened the envelope from the Buick Achievers’ scholarship program and learned that she would receive $24,000 a year to attend college, she screamed and danced and ran around her house with the letter.

She posted it on Facebook. Her mom called the scholarship a blessing.

Grayned applied for the scholarship less than a week before high school graduation with limited expectations. That was four years ago. Recently, Grayned, 22, graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in finance from Hampton University on Mother’s Day, a great gift for her mom, a single parent who had wholeheartedly supported her throughout her entire academic career.

“Coming from a single parent household, I just knew that I needed assistance to [pay] for college,” said Grayned. “I knew that I was going to go regardless, I just wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for it. The biggest thing for me with having the Buick Achievers’ scholarship is the fact that I didn’t have financial stress.”

Grayned joined the Sigma Beta Delta Business Honor Society and Ebony Fire, Hampton’s dance troupe, where she was team captain her senior year.

The Stone Mountain, Ga. native said that traveling with the football team and performing with the band were great experiences and provided a creative outlet while helping her to hone her leadership skills.

Those experiences may not have been possible without the Buick Achievers’ scholarship she received four years ago. The General Motors Foundation started the scholarship program in 2011 in an effort to increase the pipeline of students flowing into careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). A 2013 study on STEM jobs conducted by the Census Bureau reported that Blacks account for just 6 percent of the STEM workforce even though they make up 11 percent of the labor market in the U.S.

Karen Nicklin, the manager of educational initiatives at the GM Foundation said that the group targeted first generation students, veterans and children of veterans, children from diverse backgrounds and students from low-income households in an effort ensure that that a quality education was affordable and accessible to more students. Since the program’s inception, 3400 students have received nearly $28 million in scholarships to attend college.

“Students can receive up $25,000 dollars and the scholarships are renewable for up to five years for some eligible majors,” said Nicklin. “Those eligible majors are all STEM or automotive-related majors.”

Last year, 15 percent of the Buick Achievers scholarship class was Black. Applicants for the scholarship have to enroll full-time at an accredited four-year college or university based in the United States or Puerto Rico for the entire 2015–16 academic year. There are more than 40 majors that are eligible through the program, including computers science, graphic design, finance and chemical engineering. A full list of majors and eligibility requirements is available at www.BuickAchievers.com.

“Awards are renewable for the given years noted above or until a bachelor’s degree is earned, whichever occurs first. Renewal is contingent upon maintaining a cumulative 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), full-time enrollment and continuing to major in an eligible field of study,” according to the program’s website.