Photograph: Technology classroom at University of Florida at Gainesville, by Dave Pokorney

How to apply for a travel scholarship or other award

STEM graduate and postdoctoral scholars (from all countries) are encouraged to submit proposals that, if funded, would support their involvement in technology-related professional development or travel.

Each seven to ten-page submission must include a photo (head shot), brief biography (150 words or less), three letters of support (personal, academic, and community), a detailed budget in US dollars, and a three-page essay (1,500 to 2,000 words) that describes the activity and how the scholar intends to pay-it-forward by volunteering one hour of effort for every $100 value of the proposal.


Pending the availability of funds, travel awards are granted to the most meritorious applications and could include points for flights, and/or hotel accommodations, and/or vouchers for food, and/or more. Preference will be given to applicants from demographics that are under-represented in STEM fields, and those who live or work in regions rated 29 and higher on the World Bank list, and applications (from anywhere) that include innovative proposals that address the needs of STEM-Trek’s targeted audiences.

Every effort will be made to fully satisfy requests that are approved by a review committee. However, depending on available funding, some could receive partial awards intended to defray the costs of travel, but not necessarily a full-ticket. In that case, applicants would be expected to self-fund part of the activity, or seek partial or matching assistance from their home institution.

Awards could include airfare, hotel, and/or conference registration waivers. Some meals may be available in the form of vouchers from partnering restaurant chains and hotels. Additional expenses accrued by participants will not be reimbursed. As the program grows, the number of scholarships and benefits will increase.

Awardees must have a current passport (with six months’ viability beyond the date of travel). Each is responsible for required visas. If international travel is involved, they must provide proof of health insurance (they are responsible for purchasing a temporary policy if their regular policy doesn’t cover international travel). Beneficiaries are required to present a credit card to the hotel for incidental expenses (if the room has been paid for by STEM-Trek).

STEM-Trekker Obligations: Write a white paper, pay-it-forward by volunteering at home, and become a STEM-Trek evangelist

Some beneficiaries are required to write an essay on a topic to be approved by STEM-Trek leadership once they return from their funded activity. When writing the papers, authors must follow IEEE Computer Society style guidelines. Whitepapers will be added to a repository that will then be made available to STEM-Trek registrants. Registrants will weigh-in on the usefulness and relevancy of each submission. In time, community input will determine whether or not a paper is retained or discarded. When enough papers are collected on a specific theme, the authors will be asked to participate, with experts in the field, in an online symposium about that topic.

For their pay-it-forward obligation, STEM-Trekkers could propose volunteering at a community vocational technical training facility at home or in the city where they study; help with a high school STEM event; represent STEM-Trek at an event near their home or university; assist with the development of a tool or application that is needed by STEM-Trek; volunteer to teach technology skills at a veterans hospital or center, senior center, or local library; or any combination of volunteer efforts that support STEM-Trek’s mission. While it is preferred to serve communities that have experienced economic hardship, help could be needed anywhere there is a general lack of technical expertise. The scholar must explore all avenues to determine the best way to effectively pay it forward at the rate of approximately one hour per $100 value (of their proposal). Before preparing a proposal, scholars should read each of the links in the drop-down menu of the Introduction section so they will understand who STEM-Trek serves on the opposite end of the technology skill spectrum (specifically job-seekers, veterans, aging workers, and people with disabilities). The proposal must have a technology focus (development, training, mentoring, etc.).

All STEM-Trek participants must agree to support STEM-Trek by participating in STEM-Trek’s LinkedIn and/or FaceBook social networks and invite their colleagues to join. Follow us on Twitter @STEMtrek.

Proposal submission calendar

Submit proposals to two months prior to the activity (according to a quarterly schedule).

Proposals are reviewed by a committee of 12-15 (representative of STEM-Trek’s advisory board).

Quarterly reviews: January 15 (due December 15 for February 15 or later activity); April 15 (due March 15 for May 15 or later activity); July 15 (due June 15 for August 15 or later activity); and October 15 (due September 15 for November 15 or later activity).

Proposal Due

Review Date

Activity no later than

December 15

January 15

February 15

March 15

April 15

May 15

June 15

July 15

August 15

September 15

October 15

November 15

Submit proposals to It’s not guaranteed that a proposal will be supported; it depends on funding and whether or not the applicant’s proposed activity is favorably reviewed.

Photo: Technology classroom at the University of Florida at Gainesville, photograph by Dave Pokorney.