NEW YORK – September 26, 2016 – L'Oréal USA today announced the five recipients of the 2016 For Women in Science Fellowship, which awards $60,000 grants to exemplary female scientists to advance their postdoctoral research. Over the last 13 years, L’Oréal USA’s For Women in Science fellowship program has awarded 65 postdoctoral women scientists over $3 million in grants at this critical stage of their career.
From neurology to astrophysics, the five 2016 fellows are being honored for their groundbreaking research across a broad range of fields: Anela Choy, a postdoctoral fellow in biological oceanography and marine ecology at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI); Shruti Naik, a postdoctoral scientist in immunology and stem cell biology at The Rockefeller University; Amy Orsborn, a postdoctoral scientist in neuroscience at New York University; Laura Sampson, a postdoctoral fellow in physics at Northwestern University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA); and Moriel Zelikowsky, a postdoctoral neuroscientist in the Department of Biology & Biological Engineering at California Institute of Technology.
“We are proud to recognize this group of exceptional female scientists for their innovative research and dedication to inspiring the next generation of women in STEM,” said Frédéric Rozé, President and CEO of L’Oréal USA. “By providing support at a pivotal moment in their careers, we hope to empower them to further their work, continue on a path to become future leaders in their fields and perhaps one day join our previous Laureates and win a Nobel Prize.”
Created in 1998, the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards identifies and supports accomplished female scientists around the world. Specifically, the program recognizes Laureates for their contributions to the advancement of life or physical sciences and encourages more young women to pursue STEM—a field where women remain underrepresented. Through the international program and the nearly 50 national and regional programs, such as the L’Oréal USA For Women in Science program, nearly 2,500 female scientists from more than 100 countries have been granted fellowships to pursue promising research projects.
“The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship was pivotal for my research and career,” said Dr. Katie Brenner, 2014 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellow and current Hartwell Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “The funding allowed me to conduct analytical research that led to important conclusions about infant nutrition. The results of this study will change the standard of neonatal care and improve health outcomes for preterm babies.”
The 2016 fellowship candidates were evaluated based on their intellectual merit, research potential, scientific excellence and their commitment to supporting women and girls in science. The U.S. fellowship program also includes a requirement to ensure recipients are committed to serving as role models for younger generations. Applications were reviewed by experienced scientists in the candidates’ respective fields through a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which manages the application process.
L’Oréal USA will host an award ceremony for the fellows in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Oct. 6. The fellows will have the opportunity to engage with L’Oréal and other STEM leaders throughout the greater New York and Washington, D.C. communities the week of Oct. 3, leading up to the ceremony. It will begin with a visit to L’Oréal USA’s new corporate headquarters at Hudson Yards in New York City, followed by a mentoring session with students at Harrison Elementary School in Roselle, N.J. where they will guest-teach alongside L’Oréal scientists. They will then travel to Washington D.C. for a discussion at the White House about issues impacting women in STEM, followed by a roundtable discussion at the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine conducted by the organization’s first female president, Marcia McNutt.
This year's awards will recognize and support the following female scientists and their research:
Anela Choy is a postdoctoral fellow in biological oceanography and marine ecology at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Choy’s research focuses on how food webs within the ocean work, and how they are impacted by plastic pollution and environmental change. Her work seeks to better understand how all life within the open ocean fits together into a complex network of feeding interactions. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will enable Choy to extend her research tenure at MBARI, specifically to gather samples and to conduct the analyses necessary to explore the chemical fingerprints of plastic in marine food webs of the Pacific Ocean. As a fifth-generation local of Hawai‘i, Choy is committed to increasing the participation of ethnically diverse women in academic, stakeholder and resource management positions in Hawai‘i and beyond. In college, Choy cofounded and managed the SOEST Maile Mentoring Bridge program at the University of Hawai‘i to support Native Hawaiians and other underrepresented ethnic minorities in ocean and earth sciences. Choy, 33, received her B.A. in Environmental Sciences, M.S. in Oceanography and Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Hawai‘i. Raised on O‘ahu and the Big Island, Choy now lives in Santa Cruz, Calif., where she enjoys surfing and playing her guitar.
Shruti Naik is a postdoctoral scientist in immunology and stem cell biology at The Rockefeller University. Naik’s research focuses on understanding the role adult stem cells play in inflammation and how they can be used to treat inflammatory disorders of the skin, like psoriasis. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will enable Naik to produce a series of interviews with prominent female scientists in hopes of inspiring the next generation of women in STEM careers. This work will build on Naik’s long-standing commitment to advocacy for gender equality, mentorship and community outreach. At The Rockefeller University, Naik has grown the Women in Science at Rockefeller (WISeR) program from six to over 250 members and has established a weekly breakfast series for trainees to network with prominent female scientists. Naik, 31, received her B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland and her Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania and the National Institutes of Health Graduate Partnership Program. Raised in India until she was 12 and then Maryland, Naik now lives in New York City, where she loves seeing performance theatre, including opera, ballet, plays, musicals and improv.
Amy Orsborn is a postdoctoral scientist in neuroscience at New York University. Orsborn’s research focuses on how the brain learns to tell our bodies to move and approaches to restore function loss due to neurological diseases and disorders. Specifically, her research aims to create new and improved treatments, like state-of-the-art prosthetics, for people with motor disabilities caused by limb loss, stroke or spinal injury. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will enable Orsborn to invest in and maintain new advanced laboratory equipment, including a specialized computer to analyze large-scale data sets generated by this research. Outside of her lab, Orsborn is part of a team developing a new web-based resource aimed to increase diversity at scientific conferences. While currently in development, the STEMM Role Models app seeks to increase the visibility of minorities in science and makes it easier for conference organizers to find outstanding and diverse speakers. Orsborn, 32, received her B.S. in Engineering Physics from Case Western Reserve University and her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from University of California, Berkeley. Raised in Illinois, Orsborn now lives in New York City where she bakes any chance she gets, and is cultivating her interest in graphic design and scientific illustration.
Laura Sampson is a postdoctoral fellow in physics at Northwestern University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). Sampson’s research focuses on gravitational wave astrophysics. Gravitational waves are a new way of observing the universe predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity and was first observed last year. Sampson develops data analysis algorithms to learn about the physical processes that lead to the systems that produce gravitational waves in the universe. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will allow Sampson to extend her research appointment, as well as work on a music-based outreach program. In addition to research, mentoring has been a strong focus for Sampson, who during her graduate studies co-founded and served as President of a Women in Science & Engineering chapter that organized retreats for female graduate students, monthly lunches with female faculty and postdoctoral researchers, and social networking events. Sampson, 31, received her B.A. in Physics from the University of Colorado and her Ph.D. in Physics from Montana State University. Raised in Boulder, Colorado, Sampson now lives in Evanston, Ill., with her dog, Jax.
Moriel Zelikowsky is a postdoctoral neuroscientist in the Department of Biology & Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Zelikowsky is researching how neurons in the brain encode traumatic emotional experiences. Specifically, this research is aimed at identifying and mapping the neuronal populations that control the effects of stress on subsequent anxiety, fear and social behavior, with the goal of leading to more advanced and targeted treatments for debilitating mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will allow Zelikowsky to bring on a young female research mentee, who will receive training in cutting-edge, genetically-targeted molecular neuroscience technologies necessary for a more comprehensive understanding of the neural circuits that underlie emotional phenomena. Zelikowsky’s commitment to mentoring began in graduate school when she created the group Women in Learning (WIL), which offers a forum where young women in neuroscience can receive mentorship, support and guidance to advance women in STEM. Zelikowsky, 33, received her B.A. in Philosophy (Metaphysics) and her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Born, raised and currently living in Los Angeles, Zelikowsky enjoys a very active lifestyle of rock climbing, trail running and backpacking with her chocolate Labrador, Pica.
L'Oréal USA is the largest subsidiary of the L'Oréal Group, the world’s leading beauty company. L’Oréal USA manages a portfolio of more than 30 iconic beauty brands, including Garnier, Giorgio Armani Beauty, Kérastase, Lancôme, La Roche-Posay, L’Oréal Paris and Yves Saint Laurent Beauté. L’Oréal USA also serves as the international hub for the product development and marketing strategy for L’Oréal’s 15 American brands: Baxter of California, Carol’s Daughter, Clarisonic, Dermablend, Essie, Kiehl’s, Matrix, Maybelline New York, Mizani, NYX Professional Makeup, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Redken, Softsheen-Carson, SkinCeuticals and Urban Decay. Generating more than $6 billion in sales annually, L’Oréal USA is committed to growth through sustainable innovation, driven by the company’s Sharing Beauty With All ambition for sustainable development across the Group’s value chain. The company is headquartered in New York City, employs more than 10,000 people, and operates administrative, research, manufacturing and distribution facilities across 13 states, including Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Washington. For more information, visit www.lorealusa.com or follow on Twitter @LOrealUSA.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science as well as Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances, and--coming soon in 2016--Science Robotics and Science Immunology. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes some 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, http://www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS. See http://www.aaas.org.