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Posted on: February 9, 2024

Virginia Council on Women’s 13th Annual High School Essay Contest

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RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin, First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin, and the Virginia Council on Women today announced the 13th Annual Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, and Healthcare essay contest and encourage female high school students to enter.  


“These scholarships are important investments into the futures of women seeking a career in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and healthcare fields. The First Lady and I cannot be more excited for these Virginians’ bright futures as they progress in their careers and develop as leaders,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. 


“The Virginia Council on Women’s STEAM-H scholarship can open doors for young women interested in a career in science, technology, engineering arts, math, or healthcare as they pursue their dreams and further their education. I encourage all interested high school students to learn more and apply for this scholarship,” said Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera.  


“This empowering opportunity encourages young women across Virginia to pursue their dream careers,” said Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Gee. “I am proud to work with the Virginia Council on Women to ensure the STEAM-H Essay Contest continues to make a positive difference in our Commonwealth.” 


In 2012, the Virginia Council on Women held the first STEM Essay Contest to award scholarships to high school students who want to pursue a STEM career. The Council has awarded over $150,000 in scholarships during the twelve years the contest has been held. The STEM Essay contest has expanded to the STEAM-H contest to encompass more career opportunities for women and assist them in scholarship opportunities. 


“With the essay contest entering its thirteenth year, the Council on Women continues to be thankful that we can assist bright minds in every corner of the Commonwealth as they move forward on their STEAM-H journeys,” said Ashley Marshall, Chair of the Virginia Council on Women. “As a Council, each and every member is dedicated to helping women reach their full potential and make their full contribution to society and the Commonwealth. This essay contest, and its support by Governor Youngkin and First Lady Youngkin, is an important way for the Council to be able to continue that work and to lift up women across Virginia.” 


The Council will award scholarships to qualifying high school seniors who plan to pursue a STEAM-H career at a community college, four-year college or university, trade or technical school, online, and/or through certificated STEAM-H oriented courses. The 13th annual contest will award one merit-based and one need-based scholarship in each of five geographic regions across the Commonwealth. Merit-based scholarships will be awarded based on the quality of the essay submitted. Need-based scholarships will be awarded based on the quality of the essay submitted and the individual’s self-identified financial need. Award amounts may vary and are determined by the Council annually.  


The contest is open to Virginia women in their senior year of high school who hold at least a 3.0 GPA for the merit-based awards and a 2.5 GPA for the need-based scholarships. Applications and guidelines are available online here


Entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 1, 2024. Essays will be judged by a panel of Council members and individuals who represent STEAM-H fields. Winners will be notified in late Aprill 2024. The scholarship awards will be presented in the spring of 2024.  


The purpose of the Virginia Council on Women is to identify ways in which women can reach their full potential and make their full contribution to society and the Commonwealth. The Council has initiated several projects to meet this goal, including the annual STEAM-H Essay Contest for high school seniors. Find additional information about the Council and available sponsorship opportunities

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