Cards Against humanity, a popular card game, is offering The Science Ambassador Scholarship worth $500,000 to a female student pursuing undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.
In order to fund the scholarship, the makers of the game released a 30-card science-themed expansion pack. The $10 pack has currently raised over $500,000 in sales.
The ideal candidate will be “an ambassador for their field, someone passionate about discovery who shares their excitement with others,” according to their website, scienceambassadorscholarship.org.
Plattsburgh State Associate Professor of Journalism and Public Relations Colleen Lemza is an advocate for young women who strive to reach their goals.
Six years ago, Lemza founded an organization that holds an annual conference for third-through fifth-grade aged girls called Shine On!, which works to increase self-esteem and self-confidence in young girls.
“For years, girls have been told that we can’t do math, science, engineering or be involved with technology,” Lemza said. “That just isn’t true.”
She said that from a young age, women are encouraged to shy away from difficult careers within the STEM fields.
PSUC Chemistry Lecturer Tom Moffett said young women have overlooked the ideas of the past.
Moffett said there are more female than male students in his basic chemistry class.
“When I was (a student) at Clarkson, our ratio was 4-to-1, and that was considered one of their better ratios,” he said. “Not long before I went there it was 8-to-1 male to female.”
Moffett said a student entering a STEM field has to be motivated.
“I don’t think this scholarship could motivate a student, but it could provide an opportunity for someone who has already found that motivation,” he said.
Moffett said that price plays a large role in a STEM students’ decision to come to PSUC. He said PSUC is more cost-effective than going to a larger, private school or university, and this scholarship could eliminate a student’s financial responsibility completely.
“Everyone could use help paying for college,” Lemza said.
For junior chemistry major Mallory Mitchell, the scholarship symbolizes hope for future generations of STEM students.
“Since I was 10 years old, I’ve known that I want to be a biochemist,” Mitchell said. “My friends thought I was weird, but I didn’t care.”
Mitchell said most of her peers didn’t understand why she chose to pursue such a “challenging” career.
Mitchell said there’s a misconception among college age women who believe STEM fields are too challenging to enter.
Mitchell said scholarships like the Science Ambassador Scholarship could be an added incentive for young women to take the next step and receive a STEM degree.
Mitchell said every woman should be proud of the career path that she chooses.
“If someone is going to put you down for choosing to challenge yourself, maybe their dreams just aren’t big enough,” Mitchell said.
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