AUCKLAND, New Zealand–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it has established a new $10,000 scholarship to support women and gender minorities to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
According to the United Nations, within the global space industry just one in five workers are women. The World Economic Forum’s latest Global Gender Gap Report also found women globally continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. The percentage of graduates in Engineering and Manufacturing is 6.6% for women compared to 24.6% for men, with an even lower representation in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) at 1.7% for women and 8.2% for men. With innovation driven by different perspectives within a diverse workforce, these statistics put the growing space industry’s future at risk.
The Rocket Lab Women’s Scholarship aims to change that. The Scholarship is open to all students who identify as female or non-binary who will be pursuing a tertiary qualification in STEM subject areas relevant to aerospace. The Rocket Lab Women’s Scholarship offers one candidate $10,000 across up to four years of study, to be used towards fees and/or course related costs. Candidates will be assessed across a range of suitability criteria, including financial hardship, community engagement, aspirations, and their academic resilience.
The Rocket Lab Women’s Scholarship is the newest addition to Rocket Lab’s offerings to support students to pursue STEM careers and build a new generation of home-grown talent. The Women’s Scholarship joins the existing Rocket Lab Scholarship, now in its sixth year, which provides tertiary funding to students who whakapapa to or have a strong connection with the Mahia and Wairoa communities where Rocket Lab’s New Zealand launch site is located. Rocket Lab also supports STEM education in Accomack County, Virginia as a major sponsor of the Virginia Spaceflight Academy’s Opening Access to STEM Pathways program, which partners with Accomack County Public Schools to provide students with new opportunities to experience an aerospace program, new and engaging STEM curriculum, career readiness, and exposure to new life experiences that students can apply to their academic year. The program also addresses the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the area’s under-served students’ academic, social, and emotional well-being.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck says: “We know we’ve got a way to go before our industry reflects the diversity and experiences of wider society, and we want to offer practical solutions instead of just talking about it. The Rocket Lab Scholarship was developed to foster a diverse talent pool of next-generation innovators, and now the Women’s Scholarship is specifically targeted at supporting more women to build fulfilling careers in space.”
Both scholarships are part of Rocket Lab’s multi-tiered education programmes Rocket Lab’s Space Ambassadors, a group of employees given training and release time to devote to education outreach, met with over 11,000 students across New Zealand and the U.S. in the first year of the programme. Under Rocket Lab’s Education Mission Statement to inspire, inform, and involve communities in becoming the future of the space industry for humanity, Rocket Lab has created world-first education initiatives, including apprenticeships, industry-led rocketry clubs, tutoring programs, teacher accelerators, and designing its own post-secondary qualification for high school leavers pursuing non-traditional careers in aerospace.
“We know that addressing the lack of diversity in aerospace is a complex challenge that requires equity-centred interventions from multiple angles,” says Felicity Powell, Rocket Lab Education Lead. “We’ve designed our education programs with their long-term sustainability and impact in mind. We want to know that if we’re inspiring students to pursue careers in aerospace, we have also paved the runway for them to launch into them too.”
Applications are now open for both Scholarships, and close on 17 November 2022. To apply, students should visit https://www.rocketlabusa.com/careers/scholarships/
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