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White, Asian students barred from applying for Pfizer fellowship

The program is touted by Pfizer as one of the company's "bold moves" to "create a workplace for all," however it notably bars white and Asian students from taking part.

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Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
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Students across the United States will soon be able to apply for a fellowship position at biopharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

According to Pfizer, the Breakthrough Fellowship Program was set up to "advance students and early career colleagues of Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic and Native American descent with a goal of developing 100 fellows by 2025."

The program is touted by Pfizer as one of the company's "bold moves" to "create a workplace for all," however it notably bars white and Asian students from taking part.

Successful applicants will take part in an 10-week summer internship, two years of full-time employment after obtaining their bachelors degree, as well as a fully paid scholarship to complete a 2-year MBA, MPH, or MS Statistics program, including an internship component.

On top of all this, they will be given the opportunity to return to Pfizer upon graduation.

The program is competitive, with elite academic and personal credentials required to be considered.

For some applicants, regardless of whether they fulfill the aforementioned requirements, they will never have a chance to be selected due to Pfizer's strict race-based condition that they "meet the program's goals of increasing the pipeline for Black/African American, Latino/Hispanic and Native Americans."

Pfizer addresses concerns about the discriminatory nature of the program in its FAQ section, assuring those who are of European or Asian descent that they are an "equal opportunity employer," and that there are "multiple programs and opportunities" available to all.

As the Washington Free Beacon reports, legal experts have criticized the program for its apparent violation of the Civil Rights Act, with many going so far as to call Pfizer's actions "illegal."

Fellowships and programs aimed at particular demographics have sprouted up in recent years as companies attempt to reverse unequal opportunities of the past, however in many cases their actions are themselves helping to perpetrate the same phenomenon they claim to fight against.

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