High school senior accepted into 180 colleges, awarded $9 million in scholarships

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Black hight school senior Dennis Maliq Barnes, who applied to 200 colleges, wearing suit speaking into microphone

A Louisiana high school senior who applied to 200 colleges and universities says he has received acceptances to 180 of them, an impressive 90% success rate that’s only rivaled by the $9 million in scholarships he’s been awarded as well.

Dennis Maliq Barnes is in his senior year at International High School of New Orleans, where he has accelerated his studies and completed his 10th and 11th grades early.

The 16-year-old, who goes by Maliq, said he started his college application process last fall with the help of his guidance counselor Denise James.

“It was never a journey that I would say that I started initially with the anticipation of being in a record or getting X amount of money. It was just kind of a process trying to get into school, just being a college-bound student,” Maliq told “Good Morning America.”

Maliq said he hopes to major in computer science in college and attend law school in the future.

Read the complete article and more from ABC News here.

PHOTO: Courtesy of International High School of New Orleans.

Beyoncé to donate $2 million to students and small business owners during Renaissance tour

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Beyonce onstage at the 2023 grammys acceptance speech

By Randi Richardson, today.com

Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour is doubling as a philanthropic tour. Her charity foundation, BeyGood, announced on April 20 that it is donating $2 million to entrepreneurs and students while the most-Grammy-winning artist tours the country for her latest album “Renaissance.”

Half of the donation will go to entrepreneurs. The day before Beyoncé’s scheduled concert in a city, BeyGOOD will host luncheons for entrepreneurs who have the chance to win a grant from the 100 allocated for each networking event. BeyGOOD plans to support a thousand small businesses with a total donation of $1 million.

The foundation said it is prioritizing organizations that support or serve marginalized and under-resourced communities. Applications to apply for a spot are now open.

The other half of the funds will establish the Renaissance Scholarship Fund. BeyGood will give $1 million to colleges and universities in 10 cities across the country with each institution receiving $100,000. The institution will then select student recipients.

“We are keenly aware of the barriers to access, opportunity, and resources that disproportionately impact BIPOC communities,” McGregor said. “Our work is rooted in the belief that education, pathways for employment and support of entrepreneurship are vehicles that help drive sustainable outcomes.”

Beyoncé founded BeyGood in 2013 during her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. Since then, the charitable initiative has donated to educational efforts, disaster relief, food, water and housing security, mental health resources and career development in the US and abroad.

“I am hugely proud of the work we have done over a decade at BeyGOOD, here in the US and around the world,” Beyoncé said in a statemetn. “From scholarships to the water crisis in Burundi, to helping families during Hurricane Harvey in my hometown, Houston, it has been beyond fulfilling to be of service.

“Now, as a foundation, we will continue the work of engaging partners through innovative programs to impact even more people,” she continued.

Texas Southern Becomes First HBCU To Win National Title At NCA

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The Texas Southern Lady Tigers cheer HBCU team pose in three rows

By Kenyatta Victoria, Girls United

Texas Southern University became the first HBCU to win a national title at the National Cheerleaders Association. The Lady Tigers scored a significant win during the Cheer Spirit Rally Division l category, opening with a 94.05 performance score.

In the team’s final round, the TSU Tigers closed out their performance with a 96.1 performance score, 96.1 raw scores and 95.5875 event score, making a historic win for the HBCU.

The Lady Tigers (pictured) add to the history Black colleges are making. The team has been working toward this moment since 2022.

The team made it clear they were coming for the national title with a Gold bid at the NCA camp with an All-American award, second place on game day, and winning most spirited.

In 75 years, TSU has become the first HBCU team to win the national championships trophy adding to the conversation surrounding the importance of supporting sports at Black colleges.

Other schools such as Alabama A&M University, Bowie State and Bethune-Cookman University were among the HBCUs that have competed in the competition.

“To see the long hours they’ve dedicated come to fruition in the form of a national championship is amazing as I want to commend the coaching staff and team members for their efforts,” Texas Southern athletics director Kevin Granger said in a news release from the university. “This team has made history at Texas Southern, and everyone a part of TSU nation is proud of their accomplishments.”

Read the original article and more from Girls United here.

14 of Financial Aid’s Biggest Myths Debunked

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fafsa home page on screen of computer

The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid provides around $112 billion in federal student aid annually. Yet Student Aid’s FY 2021 Annual Report found that only about 61% of high school students applied for financial aid.

Here are the top 14 myths about student aid, debunked:

Myth 1: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form costs money. 

FACT: Nope! The FAFSA form is free. The quickest and best way to fill it out is on fafsa.gov. Don’t complete your FAFSA form on websites that charge fees.

Myth 2: My family’s income is too high for me to qualify for financial aid. 

FACT: That’s one of the most common financial aid myths, but there’s no income cutoff. Most people qualify for some type of financial aid, which range from grants and scholarships to loans and work-study programs. Many factors besides income — such as your family size and your year in school — are considered to create your financial aid package.

When you submit the FAFSA form, you’re also automatically applying for state funds and possibly financial aid from your school, including grants and scholarships. In fact, some schools won’t even consider you for their scholarships (including academic scholarships) until you’ve submitted a FAFSA form. And you can’t know how much financial aid you’ll get until you fill it out.

Myth 3: The FAFSA form is really hard to fill out. 

FACT: Most people can complete their first FAFSA form in less than an hour. If it’s a renewal or you’re an independent student who doesn’t need to provide parents’ information, it can take even less time. Online, you’re asked only the questions relevant to you. And if you’ve filed your taxes, you can transfer your tax return data into your FAFSA form automatically.

Myth 4: I’m not eligible for financial aid because of my ethnicity or age. 

FACT: Absolutely not. While schools have their own eligibility requirements, federal student aid eligibility requirements do not exclude based on ethnicity or age.

Myth 5: The FAFSA form is only for federal student loans. 

FACT: Not at all. In fact, the FAFSA form is one of the most widely used tools to access student aid: one application for multiple types of funding. When you complete the FAFSA form, you’re automatically applying for everything from grants and scholarships to work-study funds and loans from federal, state, and school sources. States and schools can also determine scholarships and grants using your FAFSA information. And the funding can be substantial.

Myth 6: The FAFSA form kicks off on Jan. 1, and you have to submit it by June.  

FACT: Nope! You have more time than you think. The FAFSA form is available on Oct. 1 for the next school year and there are three FAFSA deadlines: federal, state, and school. But the sooner you submit your FAFSA form, the more likely you are to get aid.

Remember, too, that when you submit the FAFSA form, you’re also automatically applying for grants, scholarships and loans from states and schools, which may have earlier deadlines than the federal deadline. If you’re applying to multiple schools, check their deadlines and apply by the earliest one.

Myth 7: I need to file my 2022 taxes before completing the FAFSA form. 

FACT: No, you’ll use your 2021 tax information to apply for student aid for the 2023-24 award year. You do not need to update your FAFSA form after filing your 2022 taxes because only the 2021 information is required. If your financial situation has changed in the last year, you should still complete the FAFSA form with the 2021 information, submit your FAFSA form and contact the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend to discuss how your financial situation has changed.

Myth 8: You have to have good grades to get a financial aid package. 

FACT: Applying for admission into school is different from applying for financial aid. Good grades may help with academic scholarships, but most federal student aid programs don’t consider grades for your first FAFSA form. In subsequent years, you’ll have to meet certain academic standards defined by your school (also known as satisfactory academic progress) to continue receiving financial aid.

Myth 9: Since I’m self-supporting, I don’t have to include my parents on the FAFSA form. 

FACT: Not necessarily. You need to know how the FAFSA form defines a dependent student. The form asks questions to determine your dependency status. You’ll also need to learn who is defined as a parent for FAFSA purposes. Requirements for being considered an independent student go beyond living on your own and supporting yourself.

Myth 10: I should not fill out the FAFSA form until I’m accepted to school. 

FACT: That’s another widespread FAFSA misconception. Do it as soon as possible. To receive your information, the FAFSA form requires you to list at least one school, but you should list any schools you’re thinking about, even if you haven’t applied or been accepted. And don’t worry ― schools can see only their own information; they will not be able to see other schools on your FAFSA form.

Myth 11: I only need to submit the FAFSA form once.  

FACT: You have to fill out the FAFSA form every year you’re in school to stay eligible for federal student aid, but filling out the renewal FAFSA form takes less time.

Myth 12: I should contact the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid to find out how much financial aid I’m getting and when.

FACT: No, the financial aid office at your school is the source for that information. The U.S. Department of Education’s office does not award or disburse your aid. Remember — each school awards financial aid on its own schedule.

Myth 13: The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount you have to pay for school. 

FACT: The EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, and it is not the amount of federal student aid you will receive. The EFC is a number your school uses to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive. Other factors ― the largest being the cost of your school ― contribute to determining both the amount and type of aid you receive.

Myth 14: I can share my FSA ID with my parent(s).  

FACT: Nope. If you’re a dependent student, you will need your own FSA ID to sign your FAFSA form online, and so will one of your parents. An FSA ID is an account username and password that you use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education websites. If you share your FSA ID, you’re risking identity theft and your FAFSA form could be delayed.

Source: studentaid.gov

STEM Internship Opportunities for Diverse Students

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diverse male student with mentor looking at computer screen together

IOScholarships (IOS), the first of its kind scholarship and financial education platform for minority STEM students has been designed with a streamlined user-friendly interface that offers great functionality to help high school, undergraduate and graduate students find STEM scholarships and internship opportunities. IOScholarships proprietary matching algorithm can match students with life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.

Statistically speaking, minorities tend to be underrepresented in STEM fields. That’s why corporations often create internship opportunities for minorities entering the industry.

“As the job market is becoming more competitive in addition to GPA and personal achievements, employers want to see applicants who have completed one or more internships,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships.

Below we’ve highlighted some of the many internships for minorities in STEM fields

Facebook Software Engineer Internship

The Software Engineer Internship is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a degree in computer science or a related field. Interns will help build the next generation of systems behind Facebook’s products, create web applications that reach millions of people, build high volume servers, and be a part of a team that’s working to help people connect with each other around the globe.

Microsoft Internship Program

For Women and Minorities this program is specifically designed for undergraduate minority college freshmen and sophomores interested in a paid summer internship in software engineering. Students must major in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or related disciplines.

Minority Access Internship

The Minority Access Internship Program has internships on offered in the spring, summer and fall to college sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduates, and professionals. Interns receive pre-employment training and counseling on career choices as well as professional development, with the possibility of full-time employment after graduation.

Google Internships

Google offers rich learning experiences for college students that include pay. As a technical intern, you are excited about tackling the hard problems in technology. With internships across the globe, ranging from Software Engineering to User Experience, Google offers many opportunities to grow with them.

The majority of the scholarships and internships featured on the IOScholarships website come directly from corporations and organizations, rather than solely from competitive national pools – thereby maximizing the number of opportunities students have to earn funding for their education.

The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.

For more information about IOScholarships visit www.ioscholarships.com.

Why the Diversity of Black Women & Their Ideas in STEM is Important

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Anike Sakariyawo headshot

By Anike Sakariyawo

It’s a well-known fact that Black women are the most educated group of women in the United States and have been receiving degrees at a higher rate for years. However, diversity with Black women is lacking in the STEM workforce. A 2016 report from National Science Foundation showed that despite Black women earning over 33,000 bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields, only five percent of senior-level positions were held by Black men and women combined. According to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), only two percent of STEM jobs are held by Black women and to make matters worse, we are more likely to earn the lowest wages in the field.

It is evident that this gap in the STEM field for people of color, specifically Black women, can be traced back to the disparities in K-12 and post-secondary education. Not only are young girls not being encouraged to enter the STEM field, but they are not seeing enough people that look like them in it. It is readily accepted that fewer women and racial minorities will have a career in STEM; this can be seen primarily in college, where more men major in STEM subjects than women, especially more Asian and white students.

Those are the odds that the S.E.E.K (Seeking Education Empowers Knowledge) Foundation is fighting against. S.E.E.K programs are about providing equal education for students of all backgrounds. We are striving to reduce the disparities in education and training which in turn addresses economic instability for people of color. Our programs aim to empower students so they can see how their thoughts and creations can improve their community and society as a whole. We utilize hands-on experiments to teach STEM subjects that are not traditionally taught during the school day so that students become familiar with STEM and are not intimidated by the field.

Diversity of people and ideas are extremely important in STEM because it allows people from diverse cultures to bring different ideas related to innovation. My life’s mission has and will be to continue to create and provide a passion for STEM, so that students of color from low-income neighborhoods may choose a career path in STEM. It is important that Black girls see themselves represented in the STEM field. We are creating spaces where they see reflections of themselves and don’t buy into the narrative that has been created about them. Diversity among Black women in the STEM field allows children to see their moms, aunts, sisters and grandmothers in positions that help change the narrative. Ensuring that Black girls know that Black women have been changing the world through STEM for a long time will normalize their place in the field. It is our job to ensure the field is diverse and inclusive so that when a young Black woman steps into a STEM workplace, they will not be the only person of color in the room.

Anike Sakariyawo is founder of S.E.E.K Foundation, Inc., (Seeking Education Empowers Knowledge) a mobile, nonprofit organization providing services to schools and other organizations in Miami Dade and Broward County, Florida, as well as Atlanta, Georgia. Its three pillars are: STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Health and Fitness and Community Involvement. S.E.E.K has earned awards and recognition from Dwayne Wade, Leaders Recognizing Leaders among many others, and provides equal access to STEM/STEAM programs by bridging the disparity gap prevalent in the lives of children of color. For more information, visit seekedu.org.

6 STEM Scholarships You Should Know About

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Group of international students having fun after studying

Just about every career in the STEM field requires some form of university-level education.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend every penny you own and then some to pursue your dream job.

Whether it’s through federal funding, non-profit organizations or individual donations, there are tons of scholarship and grant opportunities for students wanting to pursue the world of STEM.
 
 
 

Here are just a few of the scholarships that you can apply for:

The Society of Women Engineers Scholarship

Since World War II, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has been doing all they can to support the needs of women engineers across the country. One of the ways they do this is through the SWE Scholarship Program, which provides varying fund amounts to those identifying as women and studying in undergraduate or graduate programs in the STEM field. While the specific amount you can receive varies, the program gave away over $1,220,000 in scholarships in 2021 alone. All students, from incoming freshman to graduate students, may apply but freshman must fill out a separate application form.

  • Amount: Varies
  • Number of Scholarships Given: Varies
  • Application Dates: Applications usually often in December for upperclassman and the following March for freshman
  • How to Learn More: swe.org/applications/login.asp

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts Scholarships

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts (AAIA) is an organization dedicated to supporting the future generation of people interested in the aerospace field. One of the ways they do this is through their scholarship program, where undergraduates and graduates alike can fill out a single application and be eligible for consideration for up to three scholarships from their program. To apply, you must be at least a sophomore in college and a member of AAIA.

USDA/1890 Scholars Program

The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is a partnership between USDA and the 1890 historically Black land-grant colleges and universities. The program provides full tuition, employment, employee benefits, fees, books and room and board each year for up to four years for selected students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, food science, natural resource science or a related academic discipline at one of 19 designated 1890s land-grant colleges and universities. The scholarship may be renewed each year, contingent upon satisfactory academic performance and normal progress toward the bachelor’s degree. Scholars accepted into the program will be eligible for noncompetitive conversion to a permanent appointment with USDA upon successful completion of their degree requirements by the end of the agreement period.

  • Amount: Full Tuition Coverage
  • Number of Scholarships Given: Varies
  • Application Dates: Varies
  • How to Learn More: gov/youth/scholarships

Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART)

In a collaboration with American Society for Engineering Education and the Department of Defense, the Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) program is for students wanting to go into engineering, biosciences, chemical engineering, civil engineering, chemistry and cognitive, neural and behavioral sciences. In addition to full tuition coverage, SMART students will receive health insurance, mentoring, internship opportunities and a guaranteed job offer from the Department of Defense. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, be available for summer internships and are expected to accept the job position offered to them upon completing their education.

  • Amount: Full Tuition Coverage, plus more
  • Number of Scholarships Given: Varies
  • Application Dates: Varies
  • How to Learn More: org/smart

NOAA Undergraduate Scholarships

NOAA Office of Education’s student scholarship programs provide opportunities for undergraduate students to gain hands-on experience while pursuing research and educational training in NOAA-mission sciences. The Hollings and EPP/MSI Undergraduate Scholarship share a common application and students who are eligible for both programs are encouraged to apply to both. To be eligible, you must be a sophomore at a four-year university program, a junior at a five-year university program or a community college student transferring to a university.

The S-STEM Program

Recognizing that financial aid alone cannot increase retention and graduation in STEM, the National Science Foundation (NSF) founded the S-STEM Program, a fund that provides awards to institutions of higher education (IHEs) to fund scholarships and to adapt, implement and study evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities that have been shown to be effective in supporting recruitment, retention, transfer (if appropriate), student success, academic/career pathways and graduation in STEM. While most of the students who receive this award are studying an area of the STEM field, proposals can be made for funds to be given to students who meet the same qualifications, but are studying a high-demand industry. The amounts distributed depend on the institution.

Sources: The College Consensus, National Science Foundation, USDA, NOAA, SMART Scholarship, AIAA, Society of Women Engineers

The Top 10 Fastest-Growing Jobs

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Especially coming out of the pandemic, the need for job security has increased for job seekers across the country. While many industries and ways of doing business have changed through the events of 2020 and into 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 31 percent increase, at minimum, to 10 career fields in the next 10 years, despite the pandemic’s effects on the economy.

Pursuing a career in a growing field could not only provide job security through unprecedented events but could provide a steady income and a foundation for moving up in the ranks of your career. Check out the 10 fastest-growing jobs.

Wind Turbine Technician

A wind turbine technician, also known as a wind tech, installs, inspects, maintains, operates and repairs wind turbines. They can diagnose and fix any problem that could cause the turbine to shut down unexpectedly.

· Projected Growth Change: 68.2 percent

· Median Annual Wage: $56,260

· Required Education (minimum): Certificate in Wind Energy Technology

Nurse Practitioners

A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice registered nurse and a type of mid-level practitioner. NPs are trained to assess patient needs, order and interpret diagnostic and laboratory tests, diagnose disease plus formulate and prescribe treatment plans. NP training covers basic disease prevention, coordination of care and health promotion but does not provide the depth of expertise needed to recognize more complex conditions.

· Projected Growth Change: 52.2 percent

· Median Annual Wage: $120,680

· Required Education (minimum): Master’s degree in the field of Advanced Practice Nursing

Solar Photovoltaic Installers

Solar photovoltaic (PV) installers assemble, set up and maintain rooftop or other systems that convert sunlight into energy. Typically, a PV is in charge of measuring, cutting, assembling and installing solar modules, panels and support structures according to building codes and standards. They also work to maintain, test and ensure the productivity of PV systems.

· Projected Growth Change: 52.1 percent

· Median Annual Wage: $47,670

· Required Education (minimum): High School degree and Trade School Knowledge

Statisticians

Statisticians are responsible for analyzing data and applying computational techniques to solve problems. Typical job tasks include designing surveys, experiments and polls; applying mathematical theories and methods to solve practical problems in business, engineering and the sciences; and interpreting data and communicating analyses to technical and non-technical audiences.

· Projected Growth Change: 35.4 percent

· Median Annual Wage: $95,570

· Required Education (minimum): Master’s degree in Statistics

Physical Therapist Assistants

Physical therapist assistants sometimes called PTAs, and physical therapist aides work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists. They help patients recovering from injuries and illnesses regain movement and manage pain. They are directly involved in the care of patients and often aid in patient care, treatment area setup and clerical duties.

· Projected Growth Change: 35.4 percent

· Median Annual Wage: $61,180

· Required Education (minimum): Associate degree from an accredited program and a license or certification

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts plan and carry out security measures to protect an organization’s computer networks and systems. They are responsible for monitoring an organization’s networks for security breaches, keeping up with information technology trends and are heavily involved with creating their organization’s disaster recovery plan.

· Projected Growth Change: 33.3 percent

· Median Annual Wage: $102,600

· Required Education (minimum): Bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Technology or a related field

Home Health and Personal Care Aides

Home health and personal care aides monitor the condition of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses and help them with daily living activities. They often help older adults who need assistance. Under the direction of a nurse or other healthcare practitioner, home health aides may be allowed to give a client medication or to check the client’s vital signs.

· Projected Growth Change: 32.6 percent

· Median Annual Wage: $29,430

· Required Education (minimum): Formal training

Medical and Health Services Managers

Medical and health services managers, also called healthcare executives or administrators, plan, direct and coordinate medical and health services. They may manage an entire facility, a specific clinical area/department or a medical practice for a group of physicians. Medical and health services managers must adapt to changes in healthcare laws, regulations and technology.

· Projected Growth Change: 32.5 percent

· Median Annual Wage: $101,340

· Required Education (minimum): Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in related fields

Data Scientists and Mathematical Occupations

A data scientist creates programming code and combines it with statistical knowledge to develop insights from data. Data science is an interdisciplinary field focused on extracting knowledge from data sets, which are typically large, and applying the knowledge and actionable insights from data to solve problems in a wide range of application domains.

· Projected Growth Change: 31.4 percent

· Median Annual Wage: $100,480

· Required Education (minimum): Bachelor’s degree in Data Science in a computer-related field

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants, also known as PAs, practice medicine in teams with physicians, surgeons and other healthcare workers. They examine, diagnose and treat patients through examinations and diagnostic tests. They may also prescribe medication and give treatments.

· Projected Growth Change: 31 percent

· Median Annual Wage: $121,530

· Required Education (minimum): Master’s degree from an accredited educational program

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Energy, Wikipedia, Master’s in Data Science

3 Ways to Conquer Imposter Syndrome

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By Lori Pugh

I’ve spent most of my professional career in the high-tech field, surrounded by predominantly male leadership. While I will always be appreciative of the mentorship and guidance I have received over the years, I’ve often found self-comparison leading the way for me.

In the STEAM fields, you’re expected to be very innovative and forward-looking. While those around me exuded confidence and self-assurance, I have often felt like I was faking it. For the longest time, I became risk-averse for fear of looking stupid. As I climbed the corporate ladder, I was sure these feelings would leave me and was disappointed to find that they would intensify.

Then, one day, many years ago, an employee reached out to me asking for advice about overcoming “imposter syndrome.” Never having heard of this affliction, my interest was piqued. After reading more about it, I realized this term describes me. Discovering that others felt these feelings flooded me with relief. In my research, I found that this “syndrome” was felt mainly by women and people of color.

Instead of being stressed, I felt challenged to learn how to conquer it. I sought coaching to help me do so, which inspired me to help others with my newfound knowledge. It has been a monumental privilege to help others learn to conquer this debilitating condition. If you can relate to these feelings, then I know you can conquer them, too. Here are three ways to do so.

1. Build self-confidence. Nobody is born with confidence. That means it can be built! Self-confidence is an emotion guided by our thoughts. If we become aware of our thoughts and identify the driving factor of negative emotions, then we have the power to target and change them. We can alter beliefs about ourselves, our career, our relationships, our lives. It’s natural for fear to crop up. That’s just the primitive part of our brains trying to protect us. With practice, all of us can rise above those natural, fear-driven thoughts and create self-confidence in every area of our lives.

2. Recognize that failing is a crucial part of success. We’ve all been taught in some way that failure must be avoided. However, when I was surrounded by software engineers, I learned that we all need to fail to improve. They call it “failing fast.” When developing software, failures or “bugs” are a normal and natural part of the testing process. It helps developers improve what isn’t working in the coding. Rather than fearing failure, look at it as a sign that you’re learning and moving forward.

3. Stop agonizing over what others may think. It’s natural for us to ponder what others think about us, but it’s the worrying that paralyzes us because there’s nothing we can do about it. Worried thoughts, however, are notoriously inaccurate. In the end, you cannot control others’ thoughts, feelings or expectations. While you may still face times of worry, you also face a choice in those moments to have courage and move forward despite any discomfort. And in doing so, you will continue to build confidence in yourself.

The journey of creating self-confidence and conquering imposter syndrome can be a long and challenging process. But if you choose to be your authentic self and have confidence in your abilities, you’ve taken the first important step.

Lori Pugh is the Chief People Officer for the nonprofit, Waterford.org. She is also a certified life coach specializing in helping women build their self-confidence and recognize their inherent brilliance. You can find more information on her website, loripugh.com, or by joining her Facebook group, “Women Walking Tall.”

A Focus on Recruiting HBCU Graduates

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Now more than ever, a record number of HBCU graduates are thriving in positions of leadership and authority. HBCU graduates are leaders in every field and include barrier-breaking public servants, scientists, artists, lawyers, engineers, educators and business owners. Several HBCU graduates serve in senior roles in the Biden-Harris Administration including the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and Vice President Kamala Harris — the first HBCU graduate ever to serve as Vice President of the United States.

Despite this record of success, disparities in resources and opportunities for HBCUs and their students persist, and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted continuing and new challenges for HBCUs. As commencement ceremonies are celebrated across the country, thousands of graduates are beginning to enter the workforce, search for jobs and seek ways to apply their new skillset. But thanks to a new White House initiative and the dedication of the Department of Labor, an array of opportunities has opened up to these graduates, no matter the discipline.

Agencies among the Department of Labor, such as the Women’s Bureau and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), are recruiting recent HBCU graduates to come and work for their organizations.

“A lot of our minorities who attend HBCUs aren’t aware of the opportunities to work in the federal government,” Roxanne Griffith, a regional administrator with the Women’s Bureau, told WTOP News, “Even as a young person, I thought the federal government was a far reach for me, and it’s a whole lot closer than a lot of people think.”

While many believe that a government employee needs to have an extensive political science background to work in a federal position, this is not the case. In fact, the Department of Labor is looking to hire HBCU graduates from an array of specialties and concentrations from political science and economics to business and STEM focuses, women and gender studies, and everything in between.

Government jobs are also favorable as they provide stability and flexibility that can often be difficult to find in the workplace. Federal positions are known to pay fair wages and offer paid sick and vacation times, plus they are flexible with different kinds of schedules. They also provide health and retirement benefits that are often difficult to find in the workforce.

This recruitment is part of one of the White House’s recent initiatives dedicated to advancing opportunities for those attending and affiliated with a Historically Black College or University. The initiative is working closely with the President’s Executive Office on crucial Administration priorities related to advancing educational equity, excellence and economic opportunity through HBCUs. They have partnered with HBCU leaders, representatives, students and alumni.

The Department of Labor’s newest recruitment strategy is also in compliance with the initiative’s three areas of primary focus:

· Programs are embedded, ongoing and longer-term activities singularly owned by the initiative that are generally singularly delivered by the initiative but can be collaboratively delivered with others.

· Projects are finite-duration, discretionary actions, often outside the initiative’s, federal agencies’ or private sector actors’ day-to-day organizational activities; they are designed to accelerate the desired performance in a targeted area. These short-term efforts are generally jointly owned and delivered by the initiative with others and act as boosters to accelerate HBCU competitiveness.

· Policies are influential actors’ written or oral expressions of important public objectives and priorities. These actors can be public sector (e.g., local, state and federal executive/ legislative/agency) or private sector (e.g., industry/philanthropy/education/advocacy).

In adhering to these initiatives, HBCUs hope to provide more opportunities for success for their students and advocation for diversity in every workplace.

To learn more about educational opportunities for HBCU students and graduates, visit sites.ed.gov/whhbcu.

Sources: Department of Education, WTOP News, The White House, Partnership for Public Service (Go Government)

National Scholarship Providers Association Introduces the NSPA Exchange During National Scholarship Month

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National Scholarship Month, sponsored by the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA), is a national campaign designed to raise awareness of the vital role scholarships play in reducing student loan debt and expanding access to higher education.

To celebrate, the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA) has announced the launch of the NSPA Exchangethe first and only scholarship metric database.

Thanks to a partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the NSPA Exchange was created to serve as a central access point for scholarship provider data. Currently, the database is home to metrics from over 1,300 organizations, allowing members to search details about peer providers by location, compare scholarship award amounts, eligibility criteria, program staff size, and more. All information is kept in a secure, cloud-based, centralized database maintained through a custom administration system.

“Our goal for the NSPA Exchange is to ultimately define best practices and industry standards for scholarship providers.” says Nicolette del Muro, Senior Director, Membership and Strategic Initiatives at NSPA.

“With this database, members now have the data they need to make strategic decisions. For example, of the over 15,000 scholarships in the Exchange database, the average application is open for 90 days. And 75% of these scholarships open in the months of November, December, and January. This offers applicants a relatively short window of time to apply for all scholarships. Insight like this could help a provider determine to open their application outside of the busy season or encourage them to make their scholarship criteria and requirements available online in advance of the application open date.”

“The NSPA Exchange is a great resource for IOScholarships as the information is constantly updated and enables members to review and update their own organization’s scholarship data”, said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IOScholarships and Individual Affiliate Member at NSPA. “IOScholarships also uses scholarships from the Exchange in our own Scholarship Search, and we trust these scholarships are safe for students, vetted, and current offerings.

To learn more about this exciting new NSPA initiative click here –  Launching a New Member Service: The NSPA Exchange or visit www.scholarshipproviders.org. For more details on how to sponsor the NSPA Exchange, contact Nicolette del Muro Senior Director, Membership and Strategic Initiatives at ndelmuro@scholarshipproviders.org.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCHOLARSHIP PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION (NSPA)

The mission of the National Scholarship Providers Association is to advance the collective impact of scholarship providers and the scholarships they award. Currently serving over 2,000 individuals, they are dedicated to supporting the needs of professionals administering scholarships in colleges and universities, non-profit, foundations and businesses. Membership in the NSPA provides access to networking opportunities, professional development, and scholarship program resources.

ABOUT IOSCHOLARSHIPS

By conducting a free scholarship search at IOScholarships.com, STEM minority and underrepresented students gain access to a database of thousands of STEM scholarships worth over $48 million. We then narrow this vast array of financial aid opportunities down to a manageable list of scholarships for which students actually qualify, based on the information they provide in their IOScholarships.com profile. They can then review their search results, mark their favorites, and sort their list by deadline, dollar amount and other criteria. We also offer a scholarship organizer which is completely free to use, just like our scholarship search. There are scholarships out there for diverse students in STEM. So take advantage of National Scholarship Month and search for available scholarships today!

For more information about IOScholarships visit www.ioscholarships.com

Resources for Beginning Your Self-Employment Journey

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Unemployed, underemployed or just curious? Changing circumstances in the economy may be making self-employment a more intriguing option to consider, and there are plenty of helpful training and information resources to help you explore the possibilities.

a black man sitting at his laptop

Self-employment options

Independent work is a term that describes self-employed, freelance, temporary and “gig” work done by millions of workers in the U.S. It also includes individuals who sell items on e-commerce, vend private residential rental space on online platforms or drive for ride-hailing services. Independent work is an increasingly important means for either a primary or supplemental income in the U.S.

Another form of self-employment involves running a business with a physical location that employs others to make or sell goods or provide services. You might do this by starting your own business, buying a stand-alone existing business or joining a franchise program.

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Free entrepreneurship learning opportunities

Whatever your ideas for a business model, there is a wealth of valuable entrepreneurship learning and business counseling opportunities available. Check out some of these free resources:

Local American Job Centers provide small business skill training, career awareness and counseling and information to help you understand the types of services and products in demand in your local economy.

 

Entrepreneurial Marketing

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): A course designed to help participants develop a flexible way of thinking about marketing problems and understand key marketing concepts, methods and strategic issues relevant for start-up and early-stage entrepreneurs.
  • Money Smart for Small Businesses: This new instructor-led training curriculum developed jointly by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) contains 10 training modules covering key topics for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Small Business Administration Learning Center: Take free online courses covering how to plan for your successful business startup, launching your business, managing, marketing and growing your business. It also includes an overview for young entrepreneurs.
  • SBA Online Small Business Training: The Small Business Administration offers more than 30 free self-guided online business training courses covering a variety of topics including how to prepare a business plan, franchising basics, government contracting, green business opportunities and more.
  • SCORE entrepreneurship online courses: View all their free courses available, including hiring workers, setting up a physical location, pricing products and services, finding funding and more.

 

Resources for targeted audiences interested in small business

  • Minority Business Development Agency: The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises. MBDA programs, services and initiatives focus on helping MBEs grow today, while preparing them to meet the industry needs of tomorrow.
  • Native American Enterprise Initiative: The Native American Enterprise Initiative seeks to build on the U. S. Chamber of Commerce’s record of success and advocacy by focusing on the crucial economic issues confronting tribal business entities and Native American-owned enterprises.
  • Veterans Business Outreach Centers: The Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling and resource partner referrals to transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard & Reserve members and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business.

 

Source: CareerOneStop

The Future of College Recruitment Depends on Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

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happy african american college students walking together on campus

By Casey Welch

Over the past year, colleges have struggled to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19, between the pressure to move entire degree programs online and the question of how best to connect with potential students in the absence of traditional events like college fairs and campus tours.

The obstacles faced by institutions of higher education have only increased over the years, and even when students can safely return to campus, it’s clear that colleges will be left with a critical, unsolved problem: how to prioritize diversity and inclusion and reflect those values in their recruitment practices.

According to a recent survey, 25% of Gen Zers decided not to apply for a college because they feared being treated unfairly due to their gender, ethnic or racial identity. Many are speaking from personal experience: Over three-quarters of respondents said they had witnessed discrimination in school and over half have experienced it themselves.

Colleges already experiencing a decline in enrollment can course correct through simple adjustments to how they prioritize and reflect the fundamental values of diversity and inclusion in their recruitment practices. This change will have a significant impact, not just on application and enrollment numbers, but on their long-term relevance as institutions of higher education.

Recruiting the next generation of college students, therefore, will require a shift in focus and a strategy that prioritizes a diverse campus culture, where all will feel welcome and appreciated for their differences, instead of ostracized. Recruitment practices are the ideal place for colleges to begin making the importance of diversity and inclusion clear, especially since prospective students are actively looking for the motivation behind initiatives that promote these values, and not just proof of their implementation.
Prioritizing diversity begins by ensuring that college recruiters reflect the background and identity of the students they’re hoping to attract. Almost two-thirds of students indicated that they would be more likely to apply to a college where the recruiter shares their racial or ethnic identity.

The next step toward inclusion is for colleges to be aware of what, exactly, Gen Zers include within that concept. For these future students, diversity and inclusion don’t stop with respect for racial or ethnic differences, they must also include an understanding of the importance of gender pronouns.

The majority of students emphatically agree that recruiters should ask for their preferred gender pronouns, but only a fraction have ever had a recruiter pose that question. Including this question would be a simple change to the existing process, but it’s one notable place where recruiters are missing the mark and missing out on potential candidates.

Colleges that have already undertaken initiatives to increase diversity and inclusion need to communicate the results of those efforts more effectively, such as through statistics and student testimonials that speak to the authentic impact of these changes over time. Respondents also highlighted a few other ways colleges can increase awareness of their dedication to these ideals, including drawing attention to programs or classes that promote diversity and a demonstrated commitment to social justice. Considering how important these criteria are to prospective students, putting in the work to implement these changes will be ineffective in attracting new students if there’s no visibility of their impact.
Simply advertising these changes isn’t enough, however. Colleges should clearly communicate how they plan to continue working toward a more diverse and inclusive environment, as well as why those changes are important. Prospective students are taking a harder look not only at the success of these initiatives, but also the motivation behind their implementation, in their consideration of where to apply.

Changing the look and language of recruitment is an easy switch, but it’s also a powerful one that will have a lasting impact on the future of college enrollment. Gen Z is placing a heavier emphasis on these distinctions than any prior generation, and colleges need to start doing so as well in response.

The next generation of college students is looking for more than an idyllic campus and an exhaustive list of course options; they’re looking for a safe environment that reflects who they are and the future they hope to create. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion and reflecting those values in their recruitment practices, colleges can demonstrate their commitment to actively welcome a diverse community of students and ensure their continued relevance.

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