Leading organizations in the chemical and affiliated industries announced a significant milestone in the industry’s collaborative diversity, equity and inclusion program, the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI). Launched in 2020, FOSSI has raised more than $17 million to fund $40,000 scholarships for over 350 students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
A nationwide program, FOSSI supports students from underrepresented communities pursuing studies in a range of preferred science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, including chemical and mechanical engineering, chemistry, and environmental sciences. 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 1000 scholarships through 2025.
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.”
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 1000 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.
Carlton Carter, a rising sophomore at Southern University and A&M College from Georgia, shared, “It made a big difference, knowing I could count on that funding. Plus, 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.”
The 2023 FOSSI application period will open on September 23.