Celebrating Women in STEM With Fellowship Awards

Navigating hundreds of video applications and finding the most deserving emerging women innovators is made simpler through Submittable’s all-in-one platform.

The Scientista Foundation comprehensively supports pre-professional women in STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math. In partnership with Perricone MD, the foundation discovered that Submittable could help them facilitate the Born Seekers Fellowship, awarding $20,000 to four exceptional applicants through the all-in-one fellowship management software.

“I looked at probably 10 different software platforms—we really needed a scoring system that was easy to use and easy for me to manage. Submittable had the best customer service and the best demo.”

Brandy Grove

Executive Director of The Scientista Foundation

How to initiate an important campaign the right way

The Scientista Foundation was founded in 2011 in response to limited resources, networking, and leadership models for college women in STEM. It is now integral to more than 20 campuses, offering content, facilitating community, and providing conferences for pre-professional women across the country. The foundation’s partnership with Perricone MD, a skincare and wellness company celebrating female innovators, was a natural fit: Together, the organizations launched the Born Seekers Fellowship in 2018 for students and young professionals in STEM.

To manage the process, Brandy Grove, Executive Director of The Scientista Foundation, sought out a digital solution for processing two rounds of video applications, as well as overseeing scored review. Submittable offered the functionality and service Brandy was looking for. She especially appreciated her experience with the sales team. “Sigrid was wonderful and very helpful,” Brandy says.

Evaluating and selecting top candidates

It was vital for The Scientista Foundation that the fellowship application be as streamlined for entrants as possible, focused around a 3-minute video submission. "Scientific research is really important but ultimately, if you can't tell someone about your research, you can’t accomplish anything,” Brandy observes, “Through our simple video entry form, we were looking to cultivate women who are good speakers, who are good at telling their story and are also scientists.”

Submittable allowed Brandy and her team to easily collect 10 video file types, as well as PDF transcripts, which a team of over 30 reviewers could quickly assess and view without downloading each one. “It was nice that we were able to watch the videos right in the platform,” Brandy says. The Born Seekers Fellowship review board used a custom review form to assign numerical scores to each application, winnowing an initial pool of 361 applicants down to 12 finalists.

These 12 finalists were then asked for 10-minute videos, assessed to determine four final award winners. The fellowship team enjoyed having the review forms integrated in the same platform as the applications, as well as the utility of built-in communication features. As Brandy notes, “For our review process, the scoring was great and I liked that I could easily download reviews, plus the emailing features (templates and bulk email) were really helpful.”

Saluting success and saving time

In March of 2019, 12 Born Seeker Fellowship finalists attended the Scientista Symposium in Cambridge, MA, where they enjoyed a 3-day networking and professional development seminar for women in STEM. Four fellowship winners, who each received an all-expenses paid trip to the Symposium, were invited to give a speech and accept their $20,000 award.

The Symposium was a great success, with over 800 people checking in throughout the weekend. Brandy was pleased with the outcomes of this fellowship process and with the role Submittable served in bringing it to fruition by encouraging efficiency. “Using Submittable saved me at least three hours a week and our reviewers five minutes per application,” Brandy says.

In the fellowship’s first round, with three reviewers per application, this equates to a savings of more than 90 hours. Submittable software ensured that the Born Seekers Fellowship application process was simple for reviewers and applicants, reserving time for The Scientista Foundation and Perricone MD to concentrate on their end goal—empowering promising, pre-professional women in STEM.

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