2015 Fellows

From exoplanetary astrophysics to marine microbiology, cancer bioengineering, condensed matter physics and synthetic biology, the 2015 Fellows represent the breadth and diversity of STEM fields.

2015 US Fellows - Image
2015 US Fellows - Image


Julie Meyer is a postdoctoral scientist in marine microbiology at the University of Florida. Meyer’s research focuses on the role of microbial interactions in the health and stability of coral reefs and is performed in collaboration with the Smithsonian Marine Station. Specifically, Meyer is researching how shifts in coral microbiota are associated with Black Band Disease, a disease that kills healthy tissue in many different species of reef-building corals. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will support the further development of Meyer’s research including the sequencing of whole genomes. Building on her strong commitment to mentoring, Meyer will also use the fellowship to produce a short documentary film highlighting the work of women in coral reef research. The documentary will be shared online and presented to girls in the Gainesville area as part of Meyer’s effort to expose girls to the diversity of scientific careers. Meyer, 39, received a Ph.D. in Marine Biosciences at the University of Delaware, an M.S. in Biology from West Chester University, a B.S. in Biology from Salisbury University and a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Sciences at University of Maryland Eastern Shore. After growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Meyer now lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and young daughter.


Claire Robertson is a postdoctoral scientist in cancer bioengineering at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Robertson is using her background in imaging and biomechanics to better understand how the normal environment in the breast acts to suppress tumor formation through biophysical mechanisms. This research has the potential to rapidly reduce breast cancer mortality by mimicking these mechanisms with new drugs and improving prediction of when cancerous cells will grow or metastasize. The L’Oreal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Robertson with the resources to focus exclusively on developing new research techniques and performing complex experiments. In addition to mentoring several women researchers, Robertson has been active in outreach throughout her career including helping to expand Rocket Science Tutors, an afterschool science program for disadvantaged middle school students. Robertson, 30, received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at University of California, Irvine and a B.S. in Bioengineering/B.A. in Applied Mathematics at University of California, San Diego. Originally from Encinitas, California, Robertson now lives in Alameda with her husband and two cats.


Sarah Ballard is a Torres Fellow in exoplanetary astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ballard’s research focuses on the rapidly evolving field of exoplanets, which are planets that orbit stars other than the sun and may resemble Earth. Ballard has discovered four exoplanets and was previously awarded the prestigious NASA Carl Sagan Postdoctoral Fellowship. The L’Oreal USA For Women in Science award will enable Ballard to form and lead her first research team. Ballard has been dedicated throughout her career to increasing the participation of women in science. In addition to mentoring several students, she currently co-hosts a podcast addressing the issues women face in science and leads workshops for female graduate students across the country about confidence. Ballard, 31, received a Ph.D. in Astronomy & Astrophysics at Harvard University and a B.A. in Astrophysics at the University of California, Berkeley. Raised in Northern California, Ballard now lives in Boston, Massachusetts.


Sarah Richardson is a postdoctoral fellow in synthetic biology at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and at the University of California, Berkeley. Richardson focuses on harnessing bacteria to make molecules that could lead to the development of new biofuels and medicines. Specifically, Richardson’s research on CRISPR and other bacterially derived tools for genome editing will make it easier for other scientists to implement biomanufacturing. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will enable Richardson to conduct independent research that will further her career. Since getting her start interning in a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine laboratory when she was in high school, Richardson has performed, and been awarded for, her extensive community outreach focused on minority and economically disadvantaged students including her current work with the Oakland Unified School District’s “Dinner with a Scientist” program. Richardson, 32, received a Ph.D. in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a B.S. in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Maryland. Raised in Baltimore, Richardson currently lives in Oakland with her husband.


Ming Yi is a postdoctoral scientist in condensed matter physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Yi’s work focuses on high-temperature superconductivity, a phenomenon in which electrons coherently pair up to travel without resistance in a material at a relatively high temperature. This research is already being applied in the development of high-efficiency power transmission lines and high-speed Maglev trains. The L’Oreal USA For Women in Science fellowship will enable Yi to purchase raw materials and travel to other world-class facilities to perform her experiments. As a new mother adjusting to the challenges of being a woman in STEM, Yi will also use her fellowship to create a support group that encourages STEM mothers to stay and succeed in the field. Yi, 30, received her Ph.D. in Physics at Stanford University and a B.S. in Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Having immigrated with her family to the United States from China when she was twelve years old, Yi now lives in Albany, California with her husband and young daughter.