Lincoln W Daniel STEM Equity Scholarship (LMSE)

Because nothing in this world is fair, but the distribution of opportunity should be at least equitable for those willing to invest the necessary effort to succeed.

Application Open Now

Apply here.

Description

Ubuntu: I am because we are. In order for us all to succeed, we must do so together. On the back of individual success should come the success of the group and vice versa. Having navigated the system with the help of those who came before me to arrive at my current position in my young career, I am ready to give back to those who should come after me.

To promote an increase in representation of Black and Latino Americans in STEM related occupations, the Lincoln W Daniel Minority STEM Equity Scholarship will award $300 to a high-achieving, academically and professionally, full-time student studying a major that falls into one of SUNY Oswego’s STEM departments.

Preference will be given to Black and Latino applicants studying in the Computer Science department and then those who are active members of SUNY Oswego’s African Student Organization.


Read on and continue to the bottom of this document to learn more about the scholarship, the application process, eligible applicants, and to whom preference will be given.

Why

In a small number of decades from now, there will be two large shifts in our society. The first one will be in respect to the United States of America whereby the racial and ethnic demographic distribution will be far unfamiliar to that of current day. The second will be in respect to how we describe our labor industries: today we suggest a separation of the technology industry from other industries, but that will not persist into the future. When evaluated independently of one another, those two major shifts in our society appear unrelated. However, when you take a more wholistic approach to evaluating such shifts in how society is represented and how it operates, you will find that their effects should be closely related.

At the time of this writing, African and Latino Americans in the USA are graduating as STEM majors at far greater rates than they are being hired in their fields of studies.

From left to right, percentages of Women, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanic or Latino Americans employed in occupations related to computers in the year 2015 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

When we take a look at computer science in particular, we see that, although Black Americans account for double the the population of Asian Americans in America and Latinos triple that same population, in the above stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one can see that in five of six, or 83%, of those occupations, Asians represent more than Blacks and Latinos combined. One can only begin to lose confidence in what the racial distribution of the numbers for women in these occupations may be.

Then we take a closer look at the two occupations where Blacks and Latinos either outnumber Asians or are most outnumbered by Asians: network and computer systems administrators and computer programmers respectively. A quick search reveals that the former is compensated as follows:

Deeper research on the compensation of Network and Computer Systems Administrators reveals a $75,000 median, $46,220 for lowest-paid employees, and $120,000 for best-paid employees. This is where Blacks and Latinos either outnumber or closely meet Asians in percentages of those employed.

Now for the compensation of computer programmers, sometimes grouped with software developers: $100,000 median. This is where Asians more than outnumber the combined percentages of Black and Latino Americans in the workforce.

So what does all of this mean? Simple: if these trends continue, when Blacks and Latinos become the majorities in the USA in a couple decades, there will still be a large wealth disparity where Asians and White Americans will be disproportionately far atop Black and Latino Americans. This problem already exists but the larger issue that is developing is that as tech continues to increasingly transcend all industries, the disparities will only grow if Black and Latino Americans are not equitably represented in the computer related occupations.

The same trend can be discovered for many other STEM related areas of employment.

Some individuals and organizations blame the education pipeline for this, but many research studies debunk that idea. Yet, they continue to offer that false suggestion as their defense of their poor diversity numbers. It’s a shame because countless studies have shown that diversity in a workforce increases the success of organizations in the most important areas:

With all of that said, we could continue to complain about the issues we face and the systemic oppression that stands as an obstacle to our goals, or we could work to overcome them. I like to propose solutions to all problems I bring light to. One solution is to encourage and support more Black and Latino Americans to take on STEM so that they can overcome the barriers in their way. At some point, tech companies will stop pretending we are invisible. For now, we’ll work towards making them open their eyes to see us. There’s already great work being done by organizations like Code2040, but, to do more in my part, I am creating the Lincoln W Daniel Minority STEM Equity Scholarship in partnership with my university’s African Student Organization.

LMSE Award

An award of $300 will be granted to a unique recipient of the LMSE Scholarship each year for use in paying for tuition and required fees, books, supplies and equipment. While not a requirement, with a little less financial burden, the student should have more time to work on developing their skills in their field through a personal side project during the semester in order to strengthen their professional employment candidacy.

Application Open Now

Apply here.

LMSE Applicant Requirements

An applicant must not have previously been granted the LMSE or any other scholarship awarded by the African Student Organization at SUNY Oswego.

Academic

Academic Standing: Applicants must be in good academic standing.

GPA: Applicants must hold a cumulative overall or major GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0.

Year: Applicants must be heading into their sophomore, junior, or senior year of undergraduate study. In more words, this means that students may only apply for the LMSE scholarship if they have a standing of a second-semester freshman first or second semester sophomore, and first or second semester junior.

Why do they get to pick? Because general education courses are not everyone’s passion and such courses may take a heavy toll on an otherwise passionate and goal oriented scientist’s GPA as s/he devotes a large percentage of his/her time to research and engineering projects in order to advance his/her craft.

Major: Applicants must be enrolled full time and have declared a major in a STEM related department at the State University of New York at Oswego. At the time of this writing, such qualifying majors are departmentalized as follows:

Preferences

First and foremost, preference will go to applicants majoring in the department of Computer Science with Physics and Mathematics leading the rest. Preference will then go to students who are active members of the SUNY Oswego African Student Organization (ASO). The definition of “active member” here will be left to ASO’s organization’s executive board.

LMSE Application Process

The application will be simple and accessible for any student willing to put in the work to succeed. The application process should begin in the last week of October of the Fall semester and end in the first week of February during the Spring semester of the same academic year. The application should involve the following requirements:

  1. The student’s declared major and class standing.
  2. The student’s latest unofficial undergraduate transcript.
  3. A description of the applicant’s goal in life with a maximum length of 140 characters.
  4. An updated resume following the resume guidelines laid out below.
  5. A personal research or engineering project started no more than two months prior to this application’s start date. The project must be finished and submitted with the application along with a short description of the project and its purpose or goals. The description should be no less than 300 words and no more than 500 words. Proper grammar is not important but it helps reviewers better access your application.
  6. A peer letter of recommendation from a fellow student in the same major as the applicant. The letter should be no less than 150 words and no more than 300 words. The purpose of this letter is to gauge the applicant’s influence on his or her peers and the perception the applicant’s peers have of him or her.
  7. Alternatively to the peer letter of recommendation, the student may submit a letter of recommendation from a professor from his or her major. There is no restrictions on the length of this recommendation.
Why a project? Because employers can only judge you off of the work you’ve done in the past and given that applicants are full-time students, the best way employers know how to evaluate students are through their projects. Having started and completed a project during every summer and winter break of my college career, I was able to easily demonstrate my competence to potential employers and secure a full-time software engineering position before the start of my senior year of study; thus is the goal of the project.

Recipient Selection

The recipient should be selected by faculty advisors of SUNY Oswego’s African Student Organization.

Promotion of LMSE

At the start of the application process, the African Student Organization should send out an email to its constituents to alert them of the LMSE application process outlined above. This email should be accompanied by the first flyer, Flyer 1, below.

One of the following flyers should be promoted on various social media profiles at least once a week by ASO during the application process to create awareness and drive applications.

Flyer 1 should be put on the SUNY Oswego campus’s digital signage at least once a month during the application process to attract more attention from those who may not follow ASO on social media.

Flyer 1
Flyer 2

LMSE Resume Guidelines

After having solicited advice and feedback on my resume from experienced industry professionals, I have produced the following guidelines for developing a winning resume:

  1. Do not list your “Objective”. It’s unnecessary in this day and age. Your only objective is to stand out as a unique candidate for whichever position you are applying for. Everyone knows that. No need to tell them what they already know. 

    Save yourself some real estate on your resume and save the reader the time and mental effort that it would take to read that blurb of text that does nothing to help you stand out as one of the best candidates to call for an interview.
  2. Everything on your resume should have a date and location.
  3. Your expected date of graduation is very important. Add it in your education section.
  4. Your education is currently your full time job and your most relevant experience so tell the reader about it. List some of your most relevant courses in your education section.
  5. List your GPA only if it is 3.0 of 4.0 or higher.
  6. Use either your cumulative or major GPA, whichever is better. Chances are high that nobody will ask you which one it is.
  7. Your layout of text needs to be consistent.
  8. Font sizes must be consistent and on a scale
  9. Your layout should have sections/categories. Each section should have a heading, i.e. Education, Projects and Involvement, Achievements, Technical Skills and Interests.
  10. Anything you put on your resume should be relevant to the company you are sending it to.
  11. Anything you put on your resume should say something of relevant insight to the reader and make it easy for them to know why it matters.
  12. Any experience you list on your resume should be followed by an explanation and some description of your achievements and added value: 
     
    May be you were on the E-Board of a recognized campus organization. What is it that you did for the organization? What were your biggest accomplishments? How did this help the organization achieve its goals?
  13. Only list relevant and useful skills. Don’t list obvious skills that you are expected to have: Microsoft Word is not a skill. However, something like Microsoft excel is definitely a noteworthy skill and should be mentioned.
  14. Assume your reader knows nothing about you or anything in your life. Spell out most phrases that a reader may not know the acronym of.

Application Open Now

Apply here.