NEW YORK, Oct. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- L'Oreal USA today announces the five recipients of the 2015 For Women in Science Fellowship, which honors female scientists at critical stages of their career with $60,000 fellowships to advance their postdoctoral research. Celebrating its twelfth year in the U.S., the L'Oreal For Women in Science program has awarded 60 postdoctoral women scientists nearly $3 million in grants. The announcement is being made in conjunction with Ada Lovelace Day – an annual event aimed at raising the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The five fellows exemplify the broad range of research women in STEM are pursuing across the country: Sarah Ballard, a postdoctoral fellow in exoplanetary astrophysics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Julie Meyer, a postdoctoral scientist in marine microbiology at the University of Florida; Sarah Richardson, a postdoctoral fellow in synthetic biology at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab's Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and at the University of California, Berkeley; Claire Robertson, a postdoctoral scientist in cancer bioengineering at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab; and, Ming Yi, a postdoctoral scientist in condensed matter physics at the University of California, Berkeley.
"As shown by this year's For Women in Science fellows, the contributions of women in STEM are exceptional, yet too often go unnoticed," said Frederic Roze, President and CEO of L'Oreal USA. "As the global leader in beauty, L'Oreal's pioneering legacy of innovation is built upon our scientific workforce – which is made up of more than 70 percent women – and we are proud to recognize the achievements of these fellows through our ongoing support of women in science."
The L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science program is a global program that recognizes and rewards women scientists around the world. Specifically, the program supports women researchers at different stages of their careers and encourages more young women to pursue STEM in a field where women remain underrepresented. Since the worldwide program began in 1998, more than 2,250 scientists in over 110 countries have been awarded for their work.
"The L'Oreal For Women in Science Fellowship helped me at a pivotal time in my career, when funding was crucial to move my research forward," said Dr. Anne Carpenter, 2006 L'Oreal USA For Women in Science Fellow and Imaging Platform Director at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. "The grant allowed me to create, develop and test a software program to more effectively measure cells in images to help investigate diseases. This software has been cited nearly 3,000 times and has yielded groundbreaking discoveries in cellular biology and biomedicine regarding the Ebola virus, tuberculosis and leukemia, among others."
The U.S. fellowship program includes a requirement focused on ensuring the fellows have a commitment to serve as role models for younger generations. The 2015 fellowship candidates were evaluated based on their intellectual merit, research potential, scientific excellence and their commitment to supporting women and girls in science. Applications were reviewed by experienced scientists in the candidates' respective fields through a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), who manages the application process.
The fellows will have the opportunity to engage with leaders from the broader STEM community the week of October 19th through visits to the White House to meet with female scientists from within the Executive Branch and Capitol Hill for a discussion with Congressional leaders about policy issues impacting women in STEM. The fellows will also participate in a mentoring session with female middle and high school students at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington's Richard England Clubhouse in NE Washington, D.C. and tour L'Oreal's Research and Innovation labs in Clark, New Jersey.
The activities will culminate with an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, October 22, where the fellows will be honored in front of elected officials, policymakers, leaders in STEM and representatives from across the scientific community. In addition to partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, L'Oreal is also working with the LearnServe Fellows Program and several high schools to sponsor 30 local young women interested in pursuing STEM careers to attend the awards ceremony as special guests.
This year's awards will recognize and support the following female scientists and their research:
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.
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'Oreal 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.
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'Oreal 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.
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.
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.
ABOUT L'OREAL USA
L'Oreal USA is the largest subsidiary of the L'Oreal Group, the worldwide leader in beauty. L'Oreal USA manages a portfolio of more than 30 iconic beauty brands, including Clarisonic, Essie, Garnier, Giorgio Armani Beauty, Kerastase, Kiehl's, Lancome, L'Oreal Paris, Matrix, Maybelline New York, NYX, Redken, Soft-Sheen Carson, Urban Decay and Yves Saint Laurent Beaute. In addition to its corporate headquarters in New York City, L'Oreal USA has research, manufacturing and distribution facilities across 13 other states including Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Washington with a workforce of more than 10,000 employees. 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 (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine (www.sciencetranslationalmedicine.org) and Science Signaling (www.sciencesignaling.org). AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes some 261 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, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.
SOURCE L'Oreal USA