Maria Trochimezuk launched the IOScholarships platform last year to facilitate access to nearly $38 million worth of STEM scholarships and open pathways for Latino students.
As Trochimezuk told NBC News, the platform, part of the National Scholarship Providers Association (NSPA), has helped provide access to nearly 11,000 students to a diverse range of STEM scholarships available from foundations and corporations.
The goal of IOScholarships is to help students graduate from college debt-free while increasing the number of Latinos and students of color in the STEM field.
The idea came to Trochimezuk when she realized how much scholarship money was going unrewarded due to a lack of applicants. She then decided to found a free platform, launched last year, and into which she invested first her personal savings and then sought funding for the project through a grant provided by Google’s Ureeka PowerUp program, which supports Latino-owned businesses.
“I always had a vision that I wanted to create a platform that would be a community,” said Trochimezuk, who is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. “It’s a first of its kind because we are focusing on underrepresented and underserved students, African American, Latinos, Asian American, Native American, and also we have scholarships for DACA students.”
As NBC News explained, in 2000, Trochimezuk moved to the United States on a graduate fellowship in marketing and public relations at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was later selected to join Stanford’s prestigious Latino entrepreneurship initiative.
She worked on public education campaigns for Google and other financial institutions focused on supporting the Latino community.
Through her experiences, she witnessed how much scholarship money was not distributed because students did not apply. However, Trochimezuk said she was able to pay for her entire education with grants and scholarships.
Now, this Latina wants to offer the same opportunities to other Latinos.
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