Career Re-entry Scholarship

Women should be inspired to re-enter the STEM workforce.
Their skills, perspectives, and experiences are valuable
assets that contribute to a more vibrant and innovative field.

Opportunity Scholarships for Career Re-entry

Scholarship Overview

Up to two women (AWIS members with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM-related field) will receive individual awards of $2,500 to be used for expenses that will support and enable the return to a STEM career after being out of the workforce for more than two years. Scholarships may be used for job search fees, technology needs, commuting, family care, additional education, participation in an incubator, or start-up fees for a scientific innovation or product.

Scholarship Requirements

Applicants will need to provide:

  • Professional Goals Essay addressing the following (500 – 1,500 words):
    1. Reasons for exiting and entering the workforce
    2. Career contributions before exiting the workforce
    3. Impact of the STEM career being pursued as related to AWIS mission
    4. How the award will help your career
  • Resume/CV Intended use of funds
  • Unofficial transcript (optional)
  • Recommendation questionnaire from professor, former employer, or new organization
  • Recommendation questionnaire from an external person familiar with your work and its impact

Previous Scholarship Recipients

Hayley Mattison

2023 Scholarship Recipient

Hayley Mattison earned her PhD from the University of Maryland, Baltimore in Physiology in 2010 and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington and Massachusetts General Hospital until her son was born in 2017. She now resides in Austin, TX with her husband and 6-year-old son. Hayley will use the award to take a course called “Data Science and Machine Learning” from MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (MIT IDSS). She will also use the money for childcare expenses needed while interviewing for positions.

Asel Kabashi

2023 Scholarship Recipient

Asel Kabashi is a Research Fellow at the L.G. Rahme Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital. She joined the lab to study host tolerance to persistent infections following a break from academic science for child-rearing. Prior to that, she was a postdoc at Northeastern University’s Antimicrobial Discovery Center searching for new compounds against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis, and elucidating their mechanism of action. Born and raised in Kyrgyzstan, she was trained as a medical doctor before completing her Ph.D. at the University of Leicester in the UK as a Faculty for the Future Fellow funded by the Schlumberger Foundation. Her thesis work was focused on the survival mechanisms of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in non-permissive growth conditions. Asel will use this scholarship to obtain US clinical experience as she wants to resume her medical career as a pathologist. Part of the funds will be spent on the course on Next Generation Sequencing for Molecular Pathology.

Martine Wagstaff

Martine Wagstaff, PhD

2022 Scholarship Recipient

Martine Wagstaff, PhD is from the UK and came to the U.S. to work in Environmental Education. She earned her PhD at UMass Boston in Environmental Biology, focusing on Marine Ecology and Evolution. Her work on shallow subtidal habitats in the Gulf of Maine focused on identifying ecological processes that structure the balance between algae and sessile invertebrates, how invasive species have disrupted community structure through time, and how invasive species themselves evolve once they enter new habitats. After graduation, she went to the Galapagos Islands with her husband to view the marine ecology and evolution and shortly after had her first and only child. When her son became of school age she hoped to return to work, but COVID-19 stalled her plans. After nearly 7 years away from science, Dr. Wagstaff plans to use her scholarship funds towards a class in the UVM Geographic Information Systems, a Data Communication Professional Certificate, and a PADI Divemaster qualification.

AWIS 2022 Schoarship Winner Laiba Bilal

Laiba Bilal

2022 Scholarship Recipient

Laiba Bilal is a Ph.D. candidate at Stony Brook University, born and raised in Pakistan. She will complete her doctoral research phase as a Research Assistant at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Currently, Bilal is working on Nanoparticle synthesis, analyzing various materials, and focusing on silicate nanocages to be tailored for isotope production and nuclear application. This includes experimenting with trapping noble gases for intended purposes in Nuclear Physics and Clean Energy Revolution. Prior to moving to the U.S. in 2017, she earned her bachelor’s in Computer Systems from UIT and master’s in Electronic Engineering from GIKI. She concentrated on renewable energy, keeping in mind the utilization of the photovoltaic technology and the conversion of the solar energy into electrical energy. With this scholarship she plans to purchase a fast and reliable laptop to pursue her career as a true scientist.

Benefits of AWIS membership
Available to all Women in Science
  • Stay on top of hot headlines and what’s new at AWIS through a weekly newsletter and online content hub.
  • Find job opportunities, career insights, and a free resume review on the AWIS Career Center or attend a Virtual Career Fairs (one coming up March 15).
  • AWIS advocates for safe, inclusive workplaces and equitable advancement for all women in science.


[you don’t have to be a member]


Thank you to our featured partners for their support of AWIS and the AWIS Foundation Awards.

We would also like to thank the Scholarship Committee for the administration of these programs.

We are grateful for all AWIS donors and supporters for helping women in science and related STEM fields achieve their dreams and reach their full potential.