SAN FRANCISCO, March 8, 2018 — Qualcomm will welcome award recipients of the 2018 Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech®) Qualcomm Global Scholars Program at its global offices in Seoul and Taipei on March 8th and March 12th respectively. Award recipients will meet with their Qualcomm mentors, who they will work with for the six months of the mentorship program. IIE’s WeTech initiative supports corporate partners interested in advancing educational and professional opportunities for women and girls on a global scale.
Designed by IIE and wireless technology leader Qualcomm, the Global Scholars Program combines financial scholarship support with virtual mentorship to give women access to role models in the tech industry and to enhance their global competencies as well as their interpersonal and intercultural skills. The program aims to close the gender gap in STEM industries.
The March 8th meet and greet in Seoul coincides with International Women’s Day, which recognizes the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women worldwide. Globally, women have made great strides in narrowing disparities in higher education attainment in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field.
According to a 2015 UNESCO report on women and science, women are breaking down some of the barriers they face in the sciences. The number of female graduates in the health fields has surpassed the number of male graduates worldwide, but women are still underrepresented in other fields, such as engineering. Similarly, women are underrepresented in the STEM workforce on a global scale, although the disparities are not always evenly divided by occupation.
“One of the barriers that women in STEM face is a lack of role models and mentors who can help guide and inspire them,” said Clare Overmann, Head of Higher Education Initiatives at IIE. “Through this initiative, we seek to lay the groundwork to help the next generation of women in STEM establish themselves in the field.”
The Qualcomm Global Scholars Program supports female university students pursuing engineering, STEM, and related fields in India, Taiwan, and South Korea. Piloted in China and India in 2015, the program expanded to South Korea and Taiwan in 2016, and is intended to develop a support system for students, enhance their leadership skills, and help prepare them for a successful career. The program operates on an annual basis, and has reached 65 female university students over the course of past three scholarship cycles. Each of the 48 scholars in the 2018 cohort will receive a $2,500 to $5,000 scholarship, as well as one-on-one virtual mentorship from a Qualcomm employee over the course of the six-month program.
“Qualcomm is proud of our Global Scholars program which supports the education of future inventors and connects them with mentors who are creating today’s breakthroughs in technology,” said Erica Fessia, Director of Community Engagement at Qualcomm Incorporated. “We understand that by enabling a diverse global industry, including increased representation of women, we are helping to build a better future.”
South Korean and Taiwanese students from the 2017 cohort reported that the program helped expand their professional network, helped them develop a clear plan for their career path after graduation, and gave them a better sense of the opportunities available to them in their field of study. In addition, award recipients said that they felt more confident about drafting their resumes, writing compelling cover letters, and succeeding in job interviews.
“The best part of the mentorship is the conversations I had with my mentor,” said a Taiwanese student majoring in electrical and computer engineering who participated in the 2017 cohort. “I’m still in the stage of learning and exploring, rather than getting prepared for a technical job with professional requirements. My mentor understood my situation very well and gave me useful advice… This information has broadened my horizons, brought me closer to my short-term goals, and helped me start planning my long-term goals.”
IIE’s Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech®) is a consortium of dedicated partners led by IIE to design and support a series of innovative activities to provide training, build networks and offer professional opportunities. WeTech® helps women and girls enter and succeed in technology careers, with the goal of enhancing women’s talent and skills needed to fuel technological and economic growth.
About the Institute of International Education (IIE)
IIE has been a world leader in international education since 1919. IIE works to build more peaceful and equitable societies by advancing scholarship, building economies and promoting access to opportunity. As a not-for-profit with 18 offices and affiliates worldwide, IIE collaborates with a range of corporate, government and foundation partners across the globe to design and manage scholarship, study abroad, workforce training and leadership development programs.