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The Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) has announced the inaugural class of scholarship recipients, chosen from more than 1,700 applicants.

The 2021 FOSSI scholars represent 28 states across the nation and plan to major in 17 unique science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors at 26 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Launched in 2020 by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Chemours Company, and the HBCU Week Foundation, FOSSI is an industry-wide program that provides scholarships to students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at HBCUs.

FOSSI also connects these students to leadership development, mentoring, and internship opportunities at more than 40 sponsoring companies.

“The 151 students chosen for this year’s Future of STEM scholars represent some of the brightest and most ambitious students from across the country, and we are thrilled to recognize and reward their achievements,” stated Chemours Chairman of the Board and FOSSI Founding Chairman, Mark Vergnano.

“Today’s world faces enormous challenges, from tackling climate change to enhancing our nation’s infrastructure and ensuring the safety of our country against cyberattacks. The skills, talent, and diverse backgrounds of our scholars will help unlock the innovative solutions to make the world a better place for us all,” Vergnano continued.

The scholarship recipients were invited to participate in a virtual welcome celebration on July 30, featuring remarks from the FOSSI Founding Partners, opportunities for scholars to network with each other and the FOSSI sponsors, and a keynote presentation from Dr. Christine Grant, professor of chemical engineering and the associate dean of faculty advancement in the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University. Grant is also the founder of STEM Resilience, which provides resources to individuals pursuing STEM careers, and president-elect of AIChE.

In accepting a FOSSI scholarship, Nia Richardson, a future environmental science major at Howard University, stated, “This scholarship will make a huge difference in my education. With such a huge investment in my career and a group of people to help guide me along the way, doing well in school is a given.”

Having exceeded the program’s ambitious initial goal to fund 150 scholarships in 2021, FOSSI aims to support 1000 students in future years. Applications for 2022 FOSSI scholarships will open on October 1. To learn more about FOSSI, visit FutureofSTEMscholars.org.

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