Mary Kay sponsors new Society of Cosmetic Chemists scholarship for ‘minority’ students

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Ta Nu)
© Getty Images \ (Ta Nu)

Related tags Scholarship SCC Mary kay inc. Science Madam CJ Walker

The SCC’s new Madam C.J. Walker Scholarship is a next step in the organization’s efforts to improve diversity, equality, and inclusion within the cosmetic and personal care industry.

“The Madam C.J. Walker Scholarship [supports] under-represented minority students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in chemical, physical, medical, pharmaceutical, biological or related sciences and technology,”​ according to the SCC media release announcing the new scholarship.

In fact, there are two $5,000 scholarships being given to undergrads or post-graduate degree candidates next year. To qualify, students must be Black / African American, Native / American Indian, or Latinx / Hispanic American. The funds for those 2 scholarship will come from Mary Kay.

Each recipient of the Madam C.J. Walker Scholarship will also be registered (at no charge) to attend the 2021 SCC Annual Meeting and & Showcase event next December, where the scholarships will be presented during the Awards Breakfast. The SCC will also cover 1 night’s stay and give each winner a$250 travel voucher to make attending the event all the more feasible.

How a professional organization for scientists is taking steps to make the beauty industry more equitable

On Juneteenth this year, the SCC announced several initiatives to help diversity the organization and the business of beauty more broadly. Those initiatives include a dedicated Career Development Day session on D&I as well as efforts to build relationships with HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities, such as Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, Howard University, Fisk University, Prairie View A&M University, and many others). Find a full list of the SCC’s new D&I initiatives in this recent Cosmetics Design article on how the beauty industry changing in the face of the current global movement for racial justice.

In the media release announcing the Madam C.J. Walker Scholarship, Erica O’Grady, CAE, CEO of the Society has this to say: “The SCC is committed to efforts to support diversity, equity and inclusion for all participants in the cosmetics and personal care industry.”

And, she adds, “We are grateful for the generous support of our scholarship sponsor, Mary Kay Inc., in assisting us with these efforts to educate under-represented groups pursuing degrees related to cosmetic and personal care product development.”

Naming a new science scholarship after a beauty industry icon

“Madam C. J. Walker is an icon who spent her entire career breaking through barriers to become one of the nation’s greatest entrepreneurs despite the many obstacles that stood in her path,” ​says Dr. Lucy Gildea, Chief Scientific Officer at Mary Kay, ​in her remarks to the press.

“It is important,” ​she emphasizes, “that we continue to honor her legacy by supporting young, minority scientists. By partnering with SCC and creating the Madam C.J. Walker scholarship, we hope to inspire and empower the next generation of student scientists who want to follow in Walker’s footsteps.”



Deanna Utroske routinely covers news of the SCC as well as innovations in chemistry, biology, and tech that matter to the beauty science community.​ Hers is a leading voice in the cosmetics and personal care industry as well as in the indie beauty movement. As Editor of, she writes daily news about the business of beauty in the Americas region and regularly produces video interviews with cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, and packaging experts as well as with indie brand founders.

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