September 1, 2021

Meet Navisite’s Three Next Steminist Scholarship Winners Who Are Ready to Change the World

Kelsic Pross

Although women make up more than half of the college-educated workforce in the U.S., only 27% of them are represented in STEM.

Today, it’s more important than ever that these numbers improve—and that progress is made in diversifying our workplaces. That’s because diverse companies are proven to perform better: They’re 1.7x more innovative and 120% more likely to hit financial goals. Those numbers only begin to paint a much larger picture—and ultimately, greater opportunities for innovation, fresh perspectives and new ideas are all available when we give women a seat at the table.

That’s why, in early 2021, Navisite launched its Next Steminist Scholarship with one major goal in mind: to help close the gender gap in STEM. After receiving applications from all over the country, we’re excited to officially announce the winners of this program: Elizabeth Andraschko of Spring Park, Minnesota; Vithya Srikumar of New York City; and Abigayle Mercer of Creswell, Oregon.

“We are honored to name the first-ever winners of Navisite’s Next Steminist Scholarship as these young women prepare to further their education, launch STEM careers and give back to their communities,” said Gina Murphy, president and COO of Navisite. “The three winners stood out among the many candidates from across the country. We were impressed with their vision and determination to make a difference with their STEM educations, and we’re thrilled to be able to support them.”

We’re shining a spotlight on each of the winners—and how they plan to use their scholarship to pursue careers in STEM fields and work to better society and human health.  

Elizabeth Andraschko

“As a woman in STEM,  I vow to use my voice and dismantle power imbalances and promote minority voices so that diversity will be the center of all future societal development.”

From: Spring Park, Minnesota 

Education: Pursuing a bachelor’s degree, and eventually a PhD, in chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mission: Elizabeth hopes to one day work for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in energy efficiency, aiding with the large-scale adaptation of electric transportation to reduce the carbon footprint of humans. She believes this initiative is critical to establishing equity in our communities.

Vithya Srikumar

“This will have a direct positive impact on people who have neurological problems that we currently know little about. I can’t wait to get started on my journey of learning so that I can start giving back to the world that has been so good to me.”

From: New York City

Education: Pursuing a combined degree in computer science and behavioral neuroscience at Northeastern University.

Mission: Vithya will combine the two worlds of computer science and behavioral neuroscience to streamline research and make it easier to work with large data sets and draw conclusions backed by evidence. As someone who has suffered from numerous neurological issues, Vithya believes it’s vital to advance our knowledge of the brain in order to help people with conditions similar to her own.

Abigayle Mercer

“No one saw [the pandemic] coming, and unfortunately this won’t be the last infection crisis. Many people from my community have died and the numbers keep growing. It is a tragedy that has forever changed me and the world. If I can use my STEM degree to make a positive impact, this is how I will do it.”

From: Caswell, Oregon

Education: Pursuing data science at the California Polytechnic State University.

Mission: With her sights set on a data science position at a research facility, Abigayle hopes to use math, research and computer programming to solve some of the biggest problems facing the world today. In particular, Abigayle wants to work with epidemiologists to analyze patterns in virus mutation and contact spreading to help predict, plan and prepare the world for the next pandemic.

About Navisite’s Next Steminist Program

The Navisite Next Steminist program is administered by Navisite customer Scholarship America®, the nation’s largest designer and manager of scholarship, tuition assistance, and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations, and individuals.

Read our full press release to learn more about Navisite’s Next Steminist Program and its scholarship winners. To learn how #WomeninSTEM are making a difference at Navisite, please check out our Steminist Spotlight blog series.

About Kelsic Pross

Kelsic is the Director of Marketing Operations at Navisite with more than 13 years of experience in the B2B and tech space. In addition to her Marketing Operations responsibilities, Kelsic oversees The Navisite's Next Steminist Scholarship program. Kelsic currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband, two children and two pups.