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Leading organizations in the chemical industries have announced a milestone in the industry’s collaborative diversity, equity, and inclusion program. The Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI)  has raised more than $17 million to fund $40,000 scholarships for over 350 students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The 2023 FOSSI application period will open on September 23.

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The initiative was founded in 2020 by the American Chemistry Council, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Chemours Company, and the HBCU Week Foundation, which aims to encourage high-school-aged youth to enroll in HBCUs, provide scholarship dollars, and sustain a pipeline for employment from undergraduate school to corporate America.

FOSSI is a chemical industry-wide program that provides scholarships to students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at HBCUs. In its inaugural year, FOSSI provided 151 scholarships. This fall, the program will fund an additional 144 scholarships, bringing the program closer to its goal of 1,000 scholarships through 2025.

Sponsored by chemical manufacturers and related industry stakeholders, FOSSI provides scholarship recipients $10,000 per year for four years and connects these students to leadership development, mentoring, and internship opportunities at participating companies. FOSSI supports students pursuing studies in a range of fields, including chemical and mechanical engineering, chemistry, and environmental sciences.

Jadyn Fleming, an Arkansas native and 2021 FOSSI scholarship recipient attending Spelman College, shared why receiving this scholarship was important: “FOSSI is helping not only me, but HBCU students nationwide to pursue their goals. By alleviating a portion of the financial burdens that I am facing, FOSSI has invested in the future of STEM.”

Carlton Carter, a rising sophomore at Southern University and A&M College from Georgia said the scholarship “made a big difference” adding that the mentoring program has been very helpful. “It’s given me insight into how business works and what I can expect once I finish my degree.”

FOSSI Chairman and former CEO of The Chemours Company, Mark Vergnano, noted the importance of FOSSI in helping to create a diverse future workforce.

“With an ambitious goal of funding 1,000 HBCU students, FOSSI aims to have a significant and meaningful impact on the future workforce. These talented scholarship recipients bring new and diverse perspectives to help innovate the solutions that will address global challenges like clean energy and climate change.”

Notably, FOSSI’s support goes beyond financial assistance, connecting students with nearly 60 corporate sponsors and a 4-year skills development program, providing leadership training, mentoring, and internship opportunities at supporting organizations.

To learn more about FOSSI, visit FutureOfSTEMScholars.org.

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