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Apple to give $20K in college scholarships as part of diversity initiative

In its push toward a more diverse corporate America, Apple on Tuesday announced two $10,000 scholarships for minority university students looking at future careers in the tech industry.

The "Product Integrity Inclusion and Diversity Scholarship" includes two awards meted out by the company's Product Integrity group, which is described by Apple as a combination of "Hardware Reliability, Product Safety, Environmental Technologies, and Hardware and Software Test Engineering" teams. Together, the specialists form one division that works together with other corporate divisions on new consumer products.

As stipulated by Apple, eligible scholarship candidates need to be women, black/African American, Hispanic, or Native American university students attending an accredited institution in fall 2015. Further, all students must be at least sophomores in a bachelor's degree program, or seeking a master's degree or doctorate in computer science or related field.

For one scholarship, dubbed "sensor," Apple is asking applicants to propose a new sensor for inclusion in an Apple product. Along with detailing the sensor's attributes and benefits to the end user, applicants must detail quality, safety, manufacturing and other design aspects.

The second award requests design proposals for a test track meant to trial a vehicle that will carry astronauts to Jupiter's moon Europa. Students must supply design renderings, material suggestions and more to ensure the track pushes the vehicle to its limits.

Each scholarship applicant will automatically be considered for an internship through Apple's rolling program, which is usually on a hiring schedule that coincides with spring and fall college semesters. Jobs run the gamut, from software engineering to hardware systems testing and beyond.

The scholarships appear to be an extension of Apple's recent efforts to diversify the workplace. In August, for example, the company published its first-ever diversity report, which was followed by a video noting the "inclusion" of U.S. minorities inspires innovation. The short film was narrated by VP of Human Resources Denise Young Smith.