DETROIT, July 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Buick Achievers Scholarship Program, funded by the General Motors Foundation, today announced new scholarships totaling up to $2.5 million to 100 recipients pursuing careers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM, information technology and other fields related to the automotive industry. Of these funds, more than half will be awarded to female students. In four years since the program's inception, Buick Achievers has awarded more than $28 million in scholarships to 3,400 high school seniors and undergraduate students, including this year's recipients and those currently receiving renewal funds through the program. Buick Achievers annually grants 100 students with up to $25,000 renewable for four years, and one additional year for those entering a qualified, five-year engineering program. "Thanks to this scholarship, I can focus on my studies without having to worry about financial constraints," said Meri Mullins, 2014 Buick Achievers recipient and University of Toledo chemical engineering student. "I've always been interested in understanding how the world works. It's my goal to instill this passion in future generations so they too can gain an interest and appreciation for STEM fields." According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. Among those who pursue a college major in the STEM fields, approximately half choose to work in a related career. The United States is falling behind internationally, ranking 25th in mathematics and 17th in science among industrialized nations. "Our Buick Achievers are evolving the face of STEM in that half are the first in their family to attend college, more than half are female and minorities make up the majority," said GM Foundation President Vivian Pickard. "These milestones are a positive indication that we're making great strides to pave the way for our industry's future leaders and innovators." As one of the largest programs in the country, Buick Achievers focuses scholarship awards to students who excel in the classroom and give back to their communities. Special consideration is given to students who are female, minorities, first generation college students, military veterans and military dependents.