COVID-19 significantly disrupted the operations of organizations across the globe, and one industry hit extremely hard was the association community.
The Washington, DC Chapter of AFCEA was no different. As a membership-based, non-profit organization, led by volunteers, AFCEA DC relies heavily on in-person education and networking events to fund its core mission—promoting higher education in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)—through the awarding of scholarships to local high school seniors.
Under the stewardship of AFCEA DC Chapter President Anthony Robbins, Vice President, Federal at NVIDIA—in coordination with Yes&—quickly transitioned to offering virtual event experiences to keep its core programming in place when all in-person events were cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The result of this swift change? $100,000 raised to fund STEM scholarship grants.
What is the AFCEA DC STEM Scholarship Program?
Ranked by College Consensus as the top education scholarship program in the Washington, DC region, AFCEA DC’s scholarships help high school seniors achieve their dream of pursuing higher education within the STEM fields. Since 1989, AFCEA DC has awarded more than 400 scholarships—totaling more than $2.6 million—to students from 112 area high schools attending 80 different colleges.
For this year’s scholarship cycle, AFCEA DC granted $100,000 in STEM scholarships across 20 awardees based on their achievements in academics, school and community leadership, financial need, and letters of recommendation. These awardees will use the scholarships towards their college tuition so that they can further their education and passions within the STEM fields.
“I’m proud of the efforts by our Washington, DC Chapter to raise $100,000 to promote STEM education, especially given the difficult times we are facing as a country,” said Robbins. “These students represent the future of this industry. Our goal is to have these young men and women pursue their post-collegiate STEM careers in the DC area, helping to fuel the military’s capabilities with advancements in technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, and 5G connectivity.”
Recognizing Top DC-Area Talent
This year’s class of STEM scholarship recipients were honored during a virtual luncheon on June 3. Recipients plan to attend local universities like George Mason University, University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, as well as nationally-recognized programs such as Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University, pursuing degrees in computer science, chemistry, microbiology, environmental science, engineering, nutrition, and food science and physics.
Even more impressive is the reason these students selected a STEM-related program. When asked why they chose STEM, responses included:
- To make the world a better place
- To make advances in medicine
- To raise awareness towards racial health disparities in America
- To embody black excellence as less than 5% of the STEM workforce is made up of black women
- To catalyze societal advancements in sustainability
- To make significant contributions to the fields of space exploration and theoretical physics
Ultimately, these students are the best of the best in the Washington, DC area, and plan to make a real difference in the STEM field.
How Yes& Helped
This scholarship program—and specifically the events and programs that drive revenue for the chapter—requires a full-service association management function. Yes& provides that end-to-end association management capability to AFCEA DC. For the scholarship program, we create the website to collect applications; coordinate and distribute applications to judges; manage the finances; and provide creative ways to present the scholarships in a meaningful way in a virtual setting.
Yes& congratulates AFCEA DC on its ability to generate such a significant contribution to its scholarship program and a big “congratulations” goes out to the young men and women who will be pursuing their dream careers in STEM.