From robotics to material science, some of the most exciting, world-changing innovation and economic opportunity today is happening at the cutting edge of engineering fields.
Unfortunately, while breakthroughs in technology ought to serve everyone equally, the teams and individuals driving innovation in engineering fields are not typically reflective of our population.
Despite African-Americans making up 13% of the population, just 4% of STEM degrees go to African-American students, a number that is not meaningfully improving.
In robotics and 3D printing, where our Markforged team is at the forefront of the digital manufacturing revolution, the lack of racial diversity is just as prevalent.
We see this as not just an opportunity problem, but also as an impact problem. Technology itself suffers from the lack of diversity, with problems ranging from racial bias against African-Americans in healthcare algorithms to 40x higher facial recognition error rates for Black women than light-skinned men.
Diverse teams are more innovative and show better financial results than those that aren't, and it is in all of our best interests to ensure equality of opportunity and strong diversity in engineering fields.
As one part of this, Markforged will award this grant to an African-American engineer at a leading technical university.
The grant will be awarded to an African-American student studying any engineering field at a top-tier technical undergraduate or graduate university program in the US.
Additionally, applicants to this grant will be considered for current and future internships and job opportunities at Markforged as part of an innovative, industry-leading team that is transforming manufacturing.
While applicants from any engineering field are welcome, candidates who have demonstrated excellence in cloud computing, material science, industrial design, 3D printing, manufacturing, etc. will be given preference. Preference will also be given to candidates from underprivileged backgrounds for whom winning the grant would have a strong impact.