BlackBerry and Alicia Keys Promote Women in STEM, Six Days Left to Apply for Scholarship

Alicia Keys is on a roll. It’s been over four months since she’s been caught tweeting on her iPhone, and just a few weeks ago Keys and her employer BlackBerry announced their Scholars Program for women.

But time is ticking for women seeking to score one of the four-year postsecondary scholarships up for grabs: the application deadline is on June 26.

The BlackBerry Scholars Program is a new initiative designed to inspire women around the world to enter and develop careers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). “It’s clear we need to elevate more women to leadership roles,” Keys said during last month’s BlackBerry Live Conference in Orlando, Florida.

As global creative director Keys is looking to recruit the best and brightest candidates who are interested in pursuing these types of careers. The program represents “the first step in BlackBerry’s long-term commitment and multi-tiered strategy to engage young women at every step of their education,” from high school to college, and throughout their careers.

As Keys emphasized at BlackBerry Live, ensuring women’s participation in both education and careers related to STEM is paramount in ensuring an increasingly diversified work force in the future. More women graduate from universities than men but Keys said just 5% of women lead startups. Moreover, 56% of women leave technology careers after their first taste of it and just 11% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.

“This is more than just a scholarship, this is the beginning of a powerful network of women,” she said.

To apply, women anywhere in the world must be entering their first year of study in the 2013-2014 academic year at a college or university. Applicants must write an essay relating to career and life aspirations as well as include their high school transcript along with two recommendations.

Those applying must be at least 18 years, while the scholarships do not cover room and board, other living expenses, books or materials fees, transportation, or other costs not included in tuition. Applicants with a conditional offer of acceptance from a school may still apply provided they supply proof of full acceptance once they’re notified.

June has proved to be a positive month for the Waterloo-based company. Two days ago it was reported that the company’s shares jumped five percent as investment analysts raised their estimates. RBC now forecasts that 14 million BlackBerry 10 units will ship this year, up from its earlier estimate of 11 million. Meanwhile Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um indicated that healthy Q10 smartphone sales should help BlackBerry beat Wall Street expectations this quarter.

Earlier this month BlackBerry also claimed that well over half of US-based Fortune 500 companies are now testing the company’s next-gen mobile platform for potential enterprise use, or are already using it.  

This Wednesday’s deadline for BlackBerry’s Scholars Program is at 8pm PST. Successful applicants will be notified by July 31.