New York City, August 10, 2016 -- The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science (FWIS) program announced today the winners of its Changing the Face of STEM Mentoring Grants (CTFS), a newly established program designed to support former fellows in their efforts to inspire the next generation of girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Members of the U.S. FWIS alumni network were invited to apply for one of four $2,500 grants to help fund new or existing mentoring projects in their communities. The awards will be administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), L’Oréal USA’s official FWIS partner.
“The Changing the Face of STEM Mentoring Grants build upon the For Women in Science program’s commitment to inspiring the next generation of girls in STEM,” said Lauren Paige, Vice President of Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives at L’Oréal USA. “We applaud all of our grantees for their innovative projects and on-going dedication to supporting STEM education in their communities.”
The four fellows and projects awarded exemplify a broad range of activities designed to engage girls in STEM: 2010 fellow Dr. M. Nia Madison will create a two-day Microbiology Girls Club workshop for minority high school students; 2014 fellow Dr. Lauren O’Connell will double her K-12 “Little Froggers School Program” that provides frog terrariums and educational tools for science classrooms; 2005 fellow Dr. Cindy Quezada will develop a hands-on internship program for underrepresented community college students at a local hospital and botanical garden; and 2013 fellow Dr. Luisa Whittaker-Brooks will broaden a one-day Expanding Your Horizon STEM conference for disadvantaged middle and high-school girls.
“I graduated with a major in science, but didn’t fully realize how many career paths I could follow in this field,” said Dr. Cindy Quezada, 2005 FWIS fellow and CTFS grant winner. “The Changing the Face of STEM Mentoring Grant has enabled me to create and fund a program that is exposing young women to the different career choices in science, especially those that can help solve some of the global challenges we are currently facing.”
This 2016 CTFS awards will recognize and support the following fellows and projects throughout the country:
Dr. M. Nia Madison, an Assistant Professor of Microbiology at Miami Dade College and 2010 fellow, is using the CTFS grant to fund a new 2-day STEM workshop for high school girls at the Miami Dade College-Homestead Campus in summer 2017. Dr. Madison created the Microbiology Girls Club to introduce 11th and 12th grade high school girls from MAST Academy in Homestead, FL to microbiology and careers in biomedical sciences while being immersed in a collegiate atmosphere. She plans to use the grant to support the creation of a 2-day Microbiology Girls Club workshop composed of exciting lectures, lab tours and experimental projects at Miami Dade College. Dr. Madison’s workshop series will give up to 24 local minority students an opportunity to conduct experiments, learn techniques, experience life as a collegiate scientist and spark further interest and awareness of successful scientists that come from similar backgrounds.
Dr. Lauren O’Connell, a Bauer Fellow at Harvard University and 2014 fellow, is using the CTFS grant to double the reach of her “Little Froggers School Program,” an outreach program she began in 2013 that provides K-12 science teachers poison dart frogs, terrariums and instruction on how to use the animals as an educational resource in the classroom. Frogs and class pets enhance science and nature lessons, as well as encourage responsibility and leadership among students. However, the program has been limited in reach since the terrariums for the frogs can be a financial burden for many teachers and districts. The CTFS grant will provide frog terrariums in the 2016/2017 academic year to eight schools in Massachusetts including several in low-income districts, a female-only school and two special needs classrooms. The grant will double the number of participating classrooms and increase the participation of several hundred students underrepresented in STEM fields.
Dr. Cindy Quezada, an international consultant for NGOs and startups and 2005 fellow, is using the CTFS grant to develop a new partnership with the College of the Sequoias Science Undergraduate Research Group Experience program, the Adventist Health Medical Center in Hanford, CA and Bravo Lake Botanical Garden in Woodlake, CA. This July, Dr. Quezada and her partners created a pilot science internship program tailored for young women from Kings and Tulare Counties in California. Through these internships, eight community college students gained exposure by interning at a local hospital laboratory or botanical garden focusing on health and water conservation issues. The students, who are primarily underrepresented minorities and first generation college students, benefited from a stipend for their science projects and gained access to unconventional opportunities that exist in the STEM fields. At the end of the summer, participating students presented their science projects at the College of Sequoias STEM Symposium.
Dr. Luisa Whittaker-Brooks, an assistant professor of Chemistry at the University of Utah and 2013 fellow, is using the CTFS grant to subsidize registration fees for 135 minority and economically disadvantaged students to attend an Expanding Your Horizon (EYH) conference at Salt Lake City Community College in early 2017. . In addition, the grant will be used to help fund a summer internship for one of the EYH participants in her lab. EYH, a nationwide initiative designed to inspire future professionals in STEM careers, holds one-day conferences for middle and high-school girls to participate in hands-on activities to engage and inspire students to pursue a future in STEM. Dr. Whittaker-Brooks has participated in the program for three years and served as the keynote speaker at the 2016 Salt Lake City event.
The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program is a global philanthropy that recognizes and rewards women scientists around the world at critical stages in their career. Since the worldwide program began in 1998, more than 2,250 scientists in over 110 countries have been awarded for their work. In the US, the For Women in Science program rewards post-doctoral women scientists for their contributions in STEM fields and commitment to serving as role models for younger generations. Now in its 13th year in the US, the program has awarded 60 post-doctoral women scientists nearly $3 million in grants.
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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.