Diversity & Representation in STEM

The existing inequities in Atmospheric Sciences


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In Atmospheric Science specifically, despite population trends, the fraction and number of advanced degrees awarded to underrepresented minority students has been stagnant over the last forty years (Bernard et al., 2018). Furthermore, records show that in the America Geophysical Union, men are awarded 85% of the most prestigious awards, a result the organization itself attributes largely to implicit bias in nomination review panels (From the Prow, 2019). Thus, despite all previous efforts, diversity and representation in STEM remain at low levels. 


Mary Persons, Diversity & Representation in STEM Scholarship

Amount:  $1000

Deadline:  March 15th, 2024 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time

About: This non-renewable, $1000 scholarship seeks to increase the number of unrepresented minority students in the fields of science, technology and engineering, starting with seniors graduating from Mary Persons High School in Forsyth, GA. Funds can be used at the discretion of the recipient without restriction but will not be dispersed until proof of enrollment at a 2 or 4-year college or university has been provided. The winner will be announced at the annual Senior Honors Night program.

Eligibility: To be considered you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Identify as a person of Black/African American, Latinx/Hispanic, or Native/American-Indian descent. Proof of US citizenship not required. 
  • Be a Mary Persons High School Senior, graduating in spring 2024
  • Plan to attend a two or four-year college or university in the fall of the year following high-school graduation (deferrals due to COVID-19 may be considered).
  • Plan to major in a science, technology, engineering, math, or nursing field

To apply, submit your application consisting of the following materials online at https://tinyurl.com/yywx2xcl or by clicking “Apply Now”.  All files must be documents or pdfs. 

  • Resumé. A list including but not limited to the following information (max 2 pages):
    • Extracurricular activities (sports, school and community related)
    • Honors and awards that you have received
    • Work experience
    • GPA /SAT scores, if you believe it will help your application (these are not required as these metrics have been shown to be poor indicators of future success, particularly for underrepresented minority students)
  • Two Short Answer Essays. Answer the following prompts in no more than 500 words, each.
    • Describe what you’re planning to major in and why.
    • Describe the world you come from; for example, your family, clubs, school, community. How has that world shaped your dreams and aspirations in STEM?
  • One letter of recommendation. Provide an email address for a faculty or staff member at your school (preferred) or a local community leader, whom you are not related to, that will provide a letter of recommendation for you. They will be contacted with instructions on how and when to complete this part of the application upon your submission.

NOTE:  If you don’t have access to a computer or internet to reliably access the application, create the required documents, or submit the application online, please contact the counsellors (Teresa Roller or Tasha Burton) at Mary Persons. We will get you a physical copy of the application and facilitate a way for you to submit the materials, physically.  Please get in touch if you have issues with the application and don’t let anything stop you form applying! 

Past Recipients 

Jeremiah Ochieng was awarded the 2023 Mary Persons Diversity & Representation in STEM Scholarship and is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was an founding member of the First Tech Challenge Team at Mary Persons High School and helped build the club throughout his time there. 

Maleisha Jackson was awarded the 2022 Mary Persons Diversity & Representation in STEM Scholarship and is currently pursuing a degree in Computer & Robotics Engineering at Kennesaw State University. Adopted out of the foster system at age 4, she found her initial interests in robotics in the Hubbard Elementary Robotics club and credits the “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” program with turning that initial interest into a plan to pursue an engineering degree “to help find solutions to our world problems”. 

Resources & Tips for a Successful Application 

(1) Start from a pre-designed template for your resumé. This will make your life easier. Googling “resumé template” is a great place to start. Generally for professional purposes, try to steer away from super colorful templates. You should always spend more time on the content than the “look” of the resumé. Often saving a resumé as a PDF is the easiest way to ensure it will display as you intend it to.  

(2) Be generous in leaving whitespace on your resumé. The easier your resumé is to read, the more the reviewer will enjoy the experience and be able to understand the information without being overwhelmed.

(3) Put your most important achievements at the top. People are notorious about “skimming” resumés, specifically when they have a lot to review. Putting your best achievements at the top/in bold ensures your most impressive qualities aren’t lost in a sea of details. 

(4) Don’t pad your resumé with unnecessary details. Present yourself honestly and don’t add activities for the sake of creating a long list (see #3). Its far more impressive to see someone with a few activities/work they’re passionate and involved in than someone that joined everything for the sake of having a long list on a resumé. 

(5) Use the essays to put your resumé in context.  For example, if you’re not involved in a lot of extracurriculars, because you have to work to support your family,  or really need all your spare time to keep up with your AP classes, explain that! Were you dealing with a huge life problem when you got a D, but are usually a straight A/B student? Explain that. Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum- your resilience in tackling adversity is just as, if not more impressive, than your “on paper” achievements. 

(6) Don’t use foreign vocabulary. Its often easier to express yourself using the same words you’d use when talking to someone. Plain language and readability are important qualities in an essay. 

(7) Ask someone you trust to provide feedback on your application before you submit. We’re often terrible at editing ourselves. Get someone else’s opinion on possible edits, but do remember this is your application at the end of the day & it should express who you are! 

Other Scholarship Resources

Do you get free & reduced lunch or does your family recieve public assistance?

I fell into this category. And I’m happy to tell you, there are A LOT of ways you can get fees waived surrounding the college prep/ college application process / qualify for financial aid.  

  • You can take the SAT/ ACT for free.
  • And if you do that, you can then apply to as many colleges as you want for free, by using a fee waiver”. (I applied to several colleges like this.)
  • You are probably also eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, like me (~$6,345 / year & its not a loan!). 
  • You should also consider applying to college through QuestBridge. Its a program that that helps high-achieving, low-income students gain admission and scholarships to 42 of the country’s top-ranked colleges by partnering with these schools to identify and support students who otherwise may not apply to leading colleges. Many colleges reserve a % of their admissions to students applying through QuestBridge. (I applied to several colleges this way.
  • Did you know that many prestigious schools may be cheaper for you to attend than UGA or Georgia Tech? Take a look at the list of schools that fulfill the “full demonstrated need of its students without loans”. I graduated MIT debt free- but it would’ve actually cost me money to attend Georgia Tech. 
  • There are school specific perks. I  got my flight to Boston to visit MIT before I committed paid for by MIT because I applied as a free & reduced lunch student. They also reached out to help me navigate the FAFSA application process. https://finaid.org/ also has great resources!

Where can I find other scholarships?

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