153 Professionals Selected, More than $6 million in student debt relief provided since start of program
PROVIDENCE – September 27, 2019 - Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation today announced that the recipients of the fourth round of Wavemaker Fellowship awards have been selected. Following a competitive review process, a total of 153 college graduates who work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and Design fields in Rhode Island will receive the award. The Fellowship is a tax credit designed to defray the cost of student loans for a minimum of two years.
"Over the past four years, Rhode Island has created thousands of new jobs in emerging industries," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "This critical program allows us to attract and retain our best and brightest young professionals. I'm excited to announce a new round of Wavemaker Fellows."
More than 400 professionals submitted applications before the deadline earlier this year, a record high. The average annual award for the group of Wavemaker Fellows is more than $3,700 per year.
Applicants were evaluated on a variety of criteria, primarily by their pursuit of careers in key advanced industries as well as the impact of the award on the applicants' decisions to stay and work in Rhode Island.
"The Wavemaker Fellowship is a powerful program that helps our state keep more than its fair share of STEM and design graduates in Rhode Island," said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. "Wavemaker Fellows are working at companies and in sectors that are vital to our state's economy. We are proud they have chosen to stay in Rhode Island, and we congratulate them on their award."
The Wavemaker Fellowship opened its first round of applications in May 2016 to provide a financial incentive for RI graduates looking to stay in-state for a job or to start a business.
Any candidate with higher education loan debt who is employed in a STEM or commercially relevant design field in the state was encouraged to apply. Approximately 66 percent of Fellows graduated from an RI institution, and 90 percent of Fellows are Rhode Island residents choosing to work in the state. Awards of varying amounts were granted to candidates who have successfully completed a graduate, bachelors or associates degree and who have found work or started their own business in Rhode Island. As part of the Fellowship, awardees will have the opportunity to participate in various personal and professional development activities that enable them to get to know one another and that build even stronger STEM and Design communities throughout the State.