Hispanic Heritage Month: Two Latinas are working together to create a pipeline of diversity in STEM
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, collectively known as STEM make up the fastest-growing and highest paid fields in the U.S. with diverse job opportunities in careers ranging from aerospace engineers, programmer to operations director, yet Latinas only account for 3% of the industry.
Unfortunately, many Latinas are discouraged from pursuing STEM careers and loose interest in these disciplines as early as middle school. This is why early intervention curriculums are key to increasing the representation of Latinas in the STEM workforce.
Getting to college is another challenge as underrepresented students face steep costs and challenges to higher education. According to a recent study published in the journal Education Researcher Latino college students drop out of STEM programs at higher rates (37%) that their white peers (27%). Continual increases in tuition and fees have pushed the cost of college education beyond the means of most minority and underrepresented students. This is why IOScholarships offers free access to scholarships and financial education so high school, undergraduate and graduate students can find life-changing scholarships where their diverse background is valued.
Gabriela is confident that the most meaningful changes in society will come from advancements in disruptive innovations and seeks to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM. After spending two and a half years at Deloitte Consulting, Gabriela joined Meta, focusing on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
“My goal is to educate students on disruptive innovation and inspire them to pursue degrees and careers in STEM and IOScholarships is creating a pipeline for these students to also have access to the best scholarships in STEM.”
Founder IO Scholarships
Her determination and hard work paid off as she won grants and scholarships to pay for her entire education. In realizing how time consuming and complicated the process of finding scholarships for STEM diverse students was, María Fernanda created IO Scholarships to make things much easier. She learned first-hand to find, apply for and win scholarships and became an advocate promoting scholarships nationwide.
“IOScholarships was inspired by my own experience as I was very fortunate to access scholarships to attend prestigious universities and realized that more could be done to support minority students especially now as STEM education becomes more important to workforce opportunities,” said María Fernanda Trochimezuk, Founder of IO Scholarships. “IO Scholarships will not only help underrepresented students find scholarships, but level the playing field so all students have the opportunity to achieve their education goals.”
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The majority of the scholarships 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. Each month IOScholarships adds hundreds of new curated scholarships to its database and posts “The Scholarship of the Week” on its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social media accounts (@IOScholarships), making it easy to find new scholarship opportunities.
In addition to providing scholarships, IOScholarships website offers a free scholarship organizer, news articles designed to provide guidance on how to apply for scholarships, and money saving tips. The platform also offers a Career Aptitude Quiz designed to help students identify the degrees and professions that best fit their skills.
María Fernanda Trochimezuk
Founder and Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer at IOScholarships
María Fernanda Trochimezuk is passionate about making diversity a norm as she advocates for the empowerment of underrepresented STEM students from racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse backgrounds. As the founder of IOScholarships she is committed to building the diverse and inclusive STEM workforce the world needs by matching undergraduate and graduate students with life-changing scholarships and internship opportunities.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina she arrived to UCSB and won over $250,000 in scholarships to pursue her education. Since then, she has devoted her energy to helping more underserved students find free money to go to college. She has been featured in just about every major Hispanic media outlet including Univision, Telemundo, NBC Latino, Mundo Fox, CNN en Español, Diversity in STEAM Magazine, Hispanic Network Magazine, Black EOE Journal and Professional Woman’s Magazine.
She has extensive experience developing and executing successful diversity campaigns for top-tier leading companies such as Google, Wells Fargo, First 5 California, ConsejoSano, MassMutual and Tuition Funding Sources. Prior to heading her public relations agency at Bravo Story María Fernanda was the Manager of Corporate Relations for Nissan North America where she managed the company’s national gift-matching program and supported organizations that offer educational programs to inform, inspire and celebrate diversity among the various cultural and ethnic groups.
María Fernanda began her career at Hispanic Business Magazine, where her responsibilities included research, event management and strategic marketing for various Hispanic Business divisions.
She graduated from Universidad del Salvador, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations. Additionally, she was selected on a national level to be part of the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Program.
Maria’s advocacy work has been recognized with many awards including the Public Relations Society Association and the Hispanic Public Relations Association.
An active presenter on diversity case studies and topics, María Fernanda has presented to organizations such as the American Marketing Association, PRSA and Cal State Fullerton University.