Ebony Magazine hosts its annual HBCU STEM Queens Competition in partnership with OLAY to recognize and reward collegiate women who epitomize Black excellence during the last week of September.
The contestants selected are HBCU students in a field of study relevant to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) who submitted a 150-word biography and a one minute video expressing their passion for the STEM field. In addition, contestants submitted a professional photo of themselves sporting their school gear after signing a consent and release form.
Once their submissions were approved, their photos and biographies were posted on Ebony Magazine’s website for viewers to read, review and like. The 10 women with the most likes win.
Winners are featured in Ebony’s Commemorative print issue and receive an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles and a full makeover.
“I love Ebony! That magazine has been on my family’s coffee table since I was young, so this is huge for me. It’s huge what they’re doing for us,” said Delani Young, a junior biology major and HBCU STEM Queens contestant.
There were 62 participants this year. Howard had 14 women compete, more than any other HBCU. This raised the stakes for garnering support.
“It does make it, you know, challenging because we’re all, like, fighting for our campus’ attention to vote for us,” said Ivelle Tailey, a sophomore maternal and child health major.
Tailey relied on her family and friends to share, like and repost her promotional content on Instagram and Twitter.
Ebony Magazine editorials have honored Black collegiate women since 1975. They partnered with OLAY to run this year’s competition.
“OLAY remains committed to equality and inclusion,” Loren Fanroy, senior communications manager at OLAY Skin Care said. “[We’re] committed to help triple the number of women of color in STEM fields by 2030,” she continued.
According to Fanroy, OLAY will also provide the winners with access to their P&G Beauty STEM women and funding for their future endeavors; how much funding was not disclosed.
This lack of diversity in the workplace inspired a few students to apply for the competition.
“I believe there should be more emphasis placed on African-Americans pursuing STEM majors,” said Charlye Williams, a senior biology major. “I want to win this competition for the experience, the chance to gain an internship and scholarship [that will] help further my interest in becoming a physician.”
The top 10 are confirmed to be announced on Oct. 11.
Copy Edited By Lauryn Wilson