The innovative public-private partnership known as the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) announced its newest cohort of 1,862 Scholars this week — which included 48 local students, whose combined award totals $1,080,000.00.
In total: 17 Wenatchee High School seniors ($382,500.00), 3 Eastmont High School seniors ($67,500.00), 8 Cashmere High School seniors ($180,000.00), and 10 Quincy High School Seniors ($225,000.00) have been awarded with the WSOS scholarship toward the Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) baccalaureate program at the Washington college or university of their choice.
“We are thrilled to support this cohort of Washington state students ready to pursue a pathway to the jobs our economy needs,” said Naria Santa Lucia, executive director of WSOS. “Our unique suite of student support services coupled with financial support will prepare these students to be the future of Washington’s workforce.”
Supporting STEM education across the state is critical to Washington’s future economy. Every region in Washington continues to grapple with a shortage of students graduating with the STEM degrees and training needed to meet employer demand. The unique model of private sector investment from companies like Microsoft and Boeing, matched dollar-for-dollar by the state of Washington is helping fill the gap; 92% of 2016 graduates were employed in their field or pursuing an advanced degree within nine months.
This cohort of scholarship recipients represents the seventh since WSOS was first created in 2011. The scholarship provides up to $22,500, over 5 years, in financial aid along with innovative student support services designed to reduce barriers for low- and middle-income students to pursue a high-demand STEM, or health care degree, and launch a career in Washington State.
This year’s applicant pool represents the most competitive yet with nearly 5,000 applications submitted – 1,000additional applicants than the year prior. Locally, the Apple STEM Network, partnered with WSOS and the nonprofit Washington STEM, to raise awareness and coordinate outreach efforts with local champions for WSOS. The North Central Educational Service District hosted a WSOS Champions Training for educators in December ahead of the application window.
Dr. Sue Kane, Co-Director of the Apple STEM Network wants to be sure to send kudos to our local educators as well as the students. “To have over a million dollars coming into the region to support student in STEM is really remarkable! We know a great number of these scholars were encouraged to apply by teachers, counselors, administrators and staff who deserve our appreciation and kudos as well. We are in awe of our counselors like Marcia Fall (Cashmere) and Career Center Specialists like Ande Johnson (Wenatchee) who worked tirelessly to raise awareness and support the students in their application process. Their efforts really paid off in opportunities for our students!”
WSOS has supported more than 6,700 Scholars from every county and legislative district in Washington State to date. WSOS will serve 16,000 by 2025 thanks to robust public and private support.
About the North Central Educational Service District
The North Central Educational Service District is a resource to the 29 districts within the four-county service area, providing professional and timely tools to meet the needs of individual schools and districts, and a reliable point of education-related information for the communities served. The NCESD is a respected resource to other ESDs throughout Washington State.
About Apple STEM Network
The Apple STEM Network is a cross-sector alliance which works to clear a pathway for youth and secure resources for STEM education, to support economic development in North Central Washington.
WSOS is a unique, public-private partnership that provides low- and middle-income students with financial assistance, career services and other student supports. WSOS is committed to preparing our students to be the face of Washington’s workforce by reducing barriers to earning degrees in high-demand science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and health care fields.