New scholarship at USC Aiken open to area high school students pursuing STEM fields

Local high school students wishing to attend college to pursue a career in one of the nation's fastest growing and highest paying job fields could receive financial support through a new scholarship opportunity at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

The USC Aiken Computer Science Scholarship Competition offers approximately a dozen $1,000 scholarships to local high school seniors within 30 miles of the university interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree at USC Aiken in cybersecurity, computer science, game and simulation, information technology, or data science.

"USC Aiken is a cornerstone of the region's cybersecurity infrastructure, with one of the nation's first student-led Security Operations Center, a $65 million investment from the Department of Energy for an Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative, and $30 million investment from the South Carolina National Guard for a cyber complex, all of which will be housed on the university's campus," said Dr. Scott McKay, dean of the College of Sciences and Engineering at USC Aiken. "Given these investments, there will be a significant surge in demand for STEM professionals, and it's essential we prepare our students to be at the forefront of this movement."

The National Association of Manufacturing reports STEM careers are growing by 17% annually compared to 9% for other fields, and approximately 3.5 million STEM jobs will be needed by 2025.

McKay said the university is working to capitalize on that momentum by providing opportunities to connect students with the area's science and technology expertise through scholarships and collaborations with active and retired area scientists and engineers.

"We've recently launched an Affiliate Research Program to connect students with the expertise of current and former scientists and engineers in the area, and we're pleased to report we've seen a very positive response," he said.

High school seniors interested in the USC Aiken Computer Science Scholarship Opportunity are asked to complete a brief online application and essay explaining why they want to pursue their degree in a STEM field. Awardees will be selected based on previous academic performance and the strength of their essay submission.

Awardees must enroll in one of the predefined programs at USC Aiken within 12 months of receipt.

Applications are due Nov. 15 and can be accessed by clicking here.