Supporting students from under-represented backgrounds in the pursuit of a technical education

We know firsthand how vital a good science or math education is to building products that change the world and enrich peoples' lives. We're committed to supporting students in their pursuit of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields — particularly those from traditionally under-represented backgrounds.

Over time, we've dedicated time, people, and financial resources to organizations, events and schools to help advance this mission — and we're excited to share that we rounded out 2009 with a donation of $8 million to a variety of organizations who share our dedication to this cause. Our efforts were focused in four key areas:

Starting in high school
STEM education at an elementary and high school level builds technical skills early and encourages interest in technology. To support the ongoing education of these subjects, we identified more than 600 high schools with significant populations of students from under-represented and economically disadvantaged backgrounds and are providing laptops to their computer science and math departments. We are also offering laptops to some of the most promising students in these schools. In a time when many of these schools are experiencing decreased funding, we wanted to support their continued commitment to learning and teaching these subjects, and recognize the exceptional work done by teachers in these communities. If you're interested in learning more about our efforts in this field, check out Google Code University (CS tutorials for students and teachers) as well as our tools, tips and lesson plans for K-12 educators.

Growing promising talent
We've worked with over 200 outstanding students as part of our FUSE, CSSI, BOLD and BOLD Practicum summer programs. To help the alumni of our 2009 summer programs pursue their studies, we awarded former program participants with school-based scholarships. We hope that this support for tuition will lessen the financial burden on these students and their families, reduce work-study commitments and free them up to explore other educational opportunities, like studying abroad.

Advancing technical knowledge through universities
We have close relationships with universities around the world — not only do we employ their alumni, but they are also a source of groundbreaking research and innovation. We awarded grants ranging in size from $20k to $100k to 50 U.S.-based universities with whom we already have relationships and directed these funds toward departments that are closely aligned with promoting under-represented minorities in technology. We hope to expand this effort both to more U.S.-based universities and to universities around the world in the future.

Partnerships with the organizations that make it happen
Our commitment to promote women and under-represented minorities in technology is shared by dozens of local and national organizations around the country. We awarded grants to 22 partner organizations, almost all of which we have worked with in the past. These organizations are on the front lines, making sure that under-represented groups have the support, resources and contacts they need. You'll find a list of these organizations with a quick overview of the work they focus on here.

This was a terrific way to close out 2009 and we look forward to attracting and encouraging more students from traditionally under-represented backgrounds to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and math.