STEM-Trek Gap Awards (up to $500-US)

Thanks to 2017 donation from Cray, STEM-Trek was able to support several orphan requests. We hope others will help build the Gap Fund; STEM-Trek is a 501.c.3 public charity and donations are tax-deductible.

What’s a gap grant?

Some students and professionals feel like they can’t take time off to attend technical conferences — even if their travel and/or wages are covered while they’re away — they’re simply spread too thin. Extra money would help bridge important financial gaps, and give them peace of mind.

Awards are confidential–we won’t publicize who or why the funds are needed. Each case, however, will help us shape the program for the future. Unique needs could become trends!

Following are examples of meritorious need that a gap grant could help with. Again, if you have a unique situation, please tell us about it:

  • Child and eldercare: According to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), the average cost of center-based, licensed daycare for children in the United States is close to $12,000 per year; eldercare costs can be twice as much. A gap award would help with licensed caregiver fees–above what would normally be spent–so scholars can take time off from daily obligations knowing that loved ones are in good hands while they’re away from home.
  • Lost wages: In today’s economy, it’s not unusual for people to be over-employed; many hold two or more jobs, and some don’t have vacation benefits. A gap award would help replace lost wages.
  • Back-fill: Many colleges and universities operate “one deep” in tech and teaching roles, and employees are hesitant to take time away for fear conditions will deteriorate in their absence. A gap award might support a student to help grade papers, or other temp help while they’re away.
  • Distance Gap Award. If you receive a travel grant to attend a workshop or conference on another continent (where everything is more expensive) you may apply for a $200-500 distance gap award.
  • Other: There are always unique cases that merit individual consideration, and each will help us develop the program for the future.

Photo by Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek. Taken at the UrbanCCD meeting at UChicago, 2016.

How and when to apply?

Submit a letter of interest to that describes the need. Attach a budget, pay stub, award letter, or receipt from a licensed provider (whatever you need to support your case–evidence that you have expenses that aren’t covered).

Include a brief (300-word) pay-it-forward proposal that describes how you intend to share what you learn at the conference with others, or how you can help STEM-Trek achieve its goals.

Thank you, Cray!

Questions? Please write to



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