The Cultivate Fellowship: Growing the Black STEM Community

As part of our commitment to BLM and supporting diversity in synthetic biology, we have established the Cultivate Fellowship to reduce the historical marginalization of Black students in STEM.

In the Summer of 2020, during mass protests across America, Ginkgo made a statement to stand in support of diversity in America and in our field of synthetic biology. We’re so pleased to honor that commitment in announcing the Cultivate Fellowship starting this year.

We’ve established this fellowship to support Black scholars in STEM fields. Black students earned 7 percent of STEM bachelor’s degrees as of 2018, and are underrepresented among those earning advanced degrees in STEM. Students also report high rates of leaving STEM programs due to a sense of isolation.

As part of our commitment to BLM and supporting diversity in synthetic biology, Ginkgo has two goals. First, we want to reduce the historical marginalization of Black students in STEM. Second, we want to provide networking and support opportunities for Black students in these fields.

Our Cultivate Fellowship partners with several organizations to do this. STEMNoire is an organization dedicated to supporting Black women PhDs, and Black Queer Town Hall celebrates intersection and cultivating community for Black Queer excellence in science. The Fellowship is open to first-year, undergraduate students interested in a STEM education and careers, including those students in two or four-year institutions. We will provide career path exposure including information sessions featuring Synthetic Biology, Patent Law, Biosecurity, and Ethics, among others, to present the full range of career possibilities STEM opens. Beyond the experience at Ginkgo, Fellows will continue to receive support including a stipend for books every semester through graduation.

In trying to shape the future of synthetic biology, Ginkgo is dedicated to supporting a vibrant, diverse community of scientists. The Cultivate Fellowship is aimed at redressing the historic marginalization of Black students in STEM in fulfillment of our stated commitment. STEMNoire and Black Queer Town Hall will provide mentors for the Cultivate Fellowship, serve as resources to help Bioworkers navigate their careers, and expand Ginkgo’s applicant pool.

Ginkgo’s Katherine Johnson Affinity group will select the group of Fellows to be a part of the first Cultivate Fellowship cohort.

If you are a rising Sophomore or pursuing a vertical transfer and interested in pursuing a career in STEM and would like to be a Cultivate Fellow, please apply here. Applications are due by March 15, 2022.

Applications include:

  • A personal statement of no more than 500 words explaining what this Fellowship would provide you that you could not otherwise receive.
  • A Letter of Recommendation–this can be from anyone who can speak to your motivation and character (please do not feel confined to an academic LOR. Our intent is to learn more about who you are as a person and how this Fellowship will help you).
  • Any additional information or media you think pertinent for the committee.

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