Washington State Opportunity Scholarship
The Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) helps low- and middle-income Washington state residents earn their bachelor’s degrees in the high-demand fields of science, technology, engineering, math and health care.
WSOS was created in 2011 to address unfilled seats in the high-demand sectors that drive our economy like aerospace, engineering, technology and health care as well as rising tuition costs at Washington colleges and universities. Businesses and the Washington State Legislature joined forces to fulfill the promise of better education and career opportunities for Washington students. Together they have created a unique public-private partnership, with significant support from founding partners Boeing and Microsoft and matching dollars from the State.
This first-of-its-kind program supports Washington students from low- and middle-income households to attain bachelor’s degrees in high-demand fields including science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and health care through scholarships of up to $22,500 as well as professional development, skills-building workshops and genuine industry exposure to help increase the rate at which students enter our state’s workforce.
Spotlight: WSOS Recipient, Osman Salahuddin
A volunteer experience first piqued Osman Salahuddin’s interest in neuroscience several years ago. Volunteering at a local preschool with a five-year-old boy with high-functioning autism inspired Osman to understand how our neurological functions influence behavior.
Now a senior at the University of Washington (UW), Osman’s lab research and rigorous studies in a highly competitive neurobiology program have cemented his passion for health care advocacy.
As a Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) Scholar, Osman has had so many opportunities to explore the field beyond the education he was getting in the classroom.
“I came to the UW as a pre-med student thinking that medical school was the only career option…Through WSOS, I now realize that I have so much potential to be able to pursue a career in many different fields.”
WSOS is a public-private partnership that fuels Washington’s economy by providing scholarships and support services to low- and middle-income Washington kids pursuing high-demand STEM and health care degrees in Washington State. Every private sector dollar invested in WSOS is matched 1:1 by the State of Washington.
Industry partners like Battelle — the generous sponsor of Osman’s $22,500 scholarship — are critical to helping Scholars build professional connections and explore career options while in school. Scholarship dollars also gave Osman the ability to pursue leadership opportunities, like his election as the 2017–18 ASUW Student Body President of UW-Seattle.
Thanks to the support and guidance he received as a Scholar, Osman is excited about his career path. He hopes to combine his passion for public health policy with a career in either medicine or biotechnology.
Read more WSOS Success Stories at https://waopportunityscholarship.org/impact/success-stories/
MESSAGE FROM WSOS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NARIA SANTA LUCIA
WSOS is grateful for the incredible leadership of the STEM Alliance to help close talent gaps by building pathways for Washington students to get the STEM education and training they need to compete for jobs in our economy. The STEM Alliance continues to champion funding for WSOS, which is essential to securing the state investment needed to build this innovative public-private partnership. Thank you for your part in supporting Scholars, like Osman, who will become the next generation of STEM and health care leaders in Washington state.
For further information about the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship: https://waopportunityscholarship.org.