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  • Press Release

Future Of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) Announces New Advisory Board & Leadership

CEOs of Dow, Eastman to Lead Advisory Board

Kelly Montes de Oca

WASHINGTON (February 21, 2023) – Representatives of The Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) today announced the election of the 2023 FOSSI Advisory Board members, including nearly 20 executives from leading chemical manufacturers and industry stakeholders.

Established in 2020, FOSSI provides $40,000 scholarships to students studying preferred science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The program also offers leadership development, mentorship and internship opportunities, and a one-to-one match with corporate sponsors committed to helping scholars achieve their goals.

Since its inception, FOSSI Founding Chairman Mark Vergnano, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Chemours Company, has led the program’s strategic path, helping to bring together more than 60 organizations who have pledged over 30 million dollars in scholarship funds. These funds support nearly 300 current scholars, with over 260 more scholarships committed in future years, as the program pursues its goal of supporting 1000 scholars through 2025.

In his new role as past-Chairman of the FOSSI Advisory Board, Vergnano will support incoming FOSSI Chairman, Jim Fitterling, Chairman and CEO of Dow, and incoming Vice-Chairman, Mark Costa, CEO of Eastman Chemical Company.

“I am thrilled to announce an incredible slate of FOSSI Advisory Board members and welcome Jim and Mark as incoming Advisory Board leadership. Jim and Mark’s engagement and commitment to the program has helped shape it into what it is today, and I am confident that we will meet and exceed our future goals with their continued leadership,” shared Vergnano.

Said Fitterling, “When STEM disciplines benefit from the world’s rich diversity of thought and experience, we all win. I am honored to serve as the next Chair of the FOSSI Advisory Board and to continue the legacy of service excellence paved by Mark Vergnano and the countless others who give their time, passion and resources to this critically important initiative.”

Newly elected Advisory Board members serve from Jan. 1, 2023, through Dec. 31st, 2025, and include:

  • Erin Kane, AdvanSix
  • Chris Jahn, American Chemistry Council
  • Darlene Schuster, American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Erika Peterman, BASF Corporation
  • Patrick Lockwood-Taylor, Bayer
  • Sean Keohane, Cabot Corporation
  • Lori Ryerkerk, Celanese
  • Mark Newman, The Chemours Company
  • Bruce Chinn, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC
  • Jim Fitterling, Dow
  • Daryl Roberts, DuPont
  • Mark Costa, Eastman Chemical Company
  • Mike Zamora, ExxonMobil Product Solutions Company
  • Brian Powers, SABIC
  • Tom Shepherd, The Shepherd Chemical Company
  • Mike Finelli, Solvay America, Inc.

Incoming Vice-Chair, Mark Costa, noted, “FOSSI’s role in clearing pathways to ensure the workforce of the future includes STEM talent from traditionally underrepresented groups is vital to delivering technological advancements in the chemical and materials sector.  I am honored to have been elected as Vice-Chair, in service with other leaders, as we continue the mission of expanding the diverse STEM talent pipeline to grow and strengthen innovation capabilities.”

To learn more about the scholarship, visit www.FutureOfSTEMScholars.org.

Future of STEM Scholars Initiative

The Future of STEM Scholars Initiative was founded in 2020 by the American Chemistry Council, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), The Chemours Company, and the HBCU Week Foundation. FOSSI is a national chemical industry-wide program which provides scholarships to students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), helping to eliminate financial barriers for historically under-represented groups. Sponsored by chemical manufacturers and related industry stakeholders, FOSSI provides scholarship recipients $10,000 per year for four years and connects these students to leadership development, mentoring and internship opportunities at participating companies. Learn more at FutureofSTEMscholars.org

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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