BOISE, Idaho — A Boise State University scholarship is changing the lives of many women in Idaho, including senior engineering student Jessica Lambert. She was the first person to receive the Women in STEM, Medicine, and Law scholarship.
"This award definitely feels like the community is coming together to say 'yes women belong in this field of study,” Lambert said. “I felt like people believed in me and I could do amazing things."
Lambert is studying to be a product development mechanical engineer.
"It's all at once amazing, difficult, frustrating at times, but also inspiring. You can help a lot of people if you choose to step into this industry,” she said.
It's an industry Lambert believes need more women. Now the founder of the scholarship is making sure more women have the opportunity.
"I wanted the scholarship to say you belong and you are so worth investing in and you need to stay here.” said Ally Orr, scholarship founder.
It’s been over a year since Boise State alumna Ally Orr started this scholarship. She said it was in response to comments made by political science Professor Scott Yenor about women’s roles in society.
"When that happened, I was so hurt and didn't know what to do with that anger and that pain. I was so scared to really dive into it. The first day we raised 10,000 and the third day we raised 25,000 and then we were able to give out the first scholarship,” Orr said.
The scholarship is entering its second year and continuing to grow.
"I thought, we need to share the benefit of the scholarship and impact the lives of more women. It will be multiple people, which is so exciting, and I never thought we would be giving a scholarship to multiple people.” Orr said.
To honor Women’s History Month and women in STEM, Orr said she’s raising $27,000 for the scholarship fund. To help her reach that goal, she launched a new clothing line celebrating women’s empowerment.
"Last year, those three words were so hurtful when the professor called women more medicated, meddlesome, and quarrelsome, and I thought, 'Nope those words don't get to use against us. We get to use them for ourselves now.' So, I created meddlesome merch and 100% of the proceeds go to the scholarship,” Orr said. "I want women to see this scholarship and say, 'there are people out there investing in me, in my daughter and sister and I am not alone.”
Orr and Lambert hope the scholarship helps inspire more women to go into STEM fields.
"Women belong in STEM, medicine, law. Wherever a person can be, a woman can be,“ Lambert said.
Orr is also working on her first book, ‘Elevate her Stories’. She’s looking for women who have experience in the STEM industry. If you’d like to participate, you can schedule an appointment via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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