NEW YORK, Oct. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- L'Oréal USA announced today the five recipients of the 2017 For Women in Science Fellowship, which honors female scientists at a critical stage in their careers with $60,000 grants to advance their postdoctoral research. Celebrating its fourteenth year in the U.S., L'Oréal USA's For Women in Science fellowship program has awarded 70 postdoctoral women scientists over $3.5 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).
From genetics to quantum physics, the five 2017 fellows are being honored for their groundbreaking research across a wide range of fields: Kellie Ann Jurado, a postdoctoral scientist in Immunobiology at Yale University; Felicity Muth, a postdoctoral fellow in Biology at University of Nevada, Reno; Ritu Raman, a postdoctoral fellow in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sydney Schreppler, a postdoctoral fellow in Physics at University of California, Berkeley; and Molly Schumer, a postdoctoral fellow in Genetics and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard Medical School.
"This year's For Women in Science fellows exemplify the many contributions that women are making to STEM fields," said Frédéric Rozé, President and CEO of L'Oréal USA. "L'Oréal has a legacy of innovation that would not have been possible without the women who make up the majority of our scientific workforce. Today, more than ever, we are proud to support our country's most accomplished women scientists at a key moment in their careers, and to empower them to continue their groundbreaking work."
Created in 1998, the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards is a global program that recognizes and rewards women scientists around the world. Specifically, the program recognizes women researchers for their contributions to the advancement of science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, where women still 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, more than 2,500 female scientists from over 100 countries have been granted fellowships to pursue promising research projects.
"The L'Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship was transformative in my research career and life," said Dr. Pardis Sabeti, 2004 L'Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellow and Professor at Harvard University and the Broad Institute. "The funding supported a study that led me to investigate deadly viruses circulating in Africa and laid the groundwork for my lab's efforts during the Ebola epidemic. The focus of the fellowship and the generous support of L'Oréal also drove me to try to make an impact in the world."
The 2017 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), which manages the application process and administers the grants.
L'Oréal USA will host an awards ceremony for the fellows emceed by CBS This Morning Co-Host Norah O'Donnell at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. on November 9, 2017. 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 November 6th leading up to the ceremony. It will begin with visits to L'Oréal USA's corporate headquarters at Hudson Yards in New York City as well as its Research & Innovation facility in Clark, New Jersey. Fellows will also participate in a mentoring session with students at Harrison Elementary School in Roselle, New Jersey where they will guest-teach alongside L'Oréal scientists before heading to Washington, D.C. While there, fellows will attend In Pursuit: An Atlantic Summit on Women & Science, which is being underwritten by L'Oréal USA as part of the company's efforts to further the conversation on the importance of increasing women's representation in STEM fields. Later, the fellows will join AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows on Capitol Hill for an informal gathering on science policy and careers. Fellows will also visit the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine (NAS) where they will participate in a roundtable discussion on the barriers and opportunities for women in science with the NAS Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine.
This year's awards will recognize and support the following female scientists and their research:
Kellie Ann Jurado is a postdoctoral scientist in Immunobiology at Yale University. Jurado's research focuses on the Zika virus (ZIKV), an emerging mosquito-borne flavivirus that can cause severe birth defects and neurological disease. Jurado is seeking to understand how ZIKV causes damage to the nervous system, which is critical to developing treatments. The L'Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will help fund this research and further Jurado's goal of becoming an independent research scientist. It will also support her work on "Cut the Risk," an educational campaign on sexual and reproductive health, with a special emphasis on the benefits of the HPV vaccine, targeting minority communities, which she is developing with several partners at Yale Medical School and Yale New Haven Hospital. Having benefitted from STEM outreach programs herself, Jurado has been dedicated to increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities and women in STEM throughout her career, most recently serving as a volunteer teacher in an afterschool program in Connecticut. Jurado, 30, received a Ph.D. in Virology at Harvard University and a B.S. in Biology and Microbiology at New Mexico State University, where she graduated first in her class. Jurado was born and raised in New Mexico, and currently lives in Connecticut, with her husband where she enjoys exercising and cooking in her free time.
Felicity Muth is a postdoctoral fellow in Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Muth's research focuses on animal behavior and cognition, which is the study of how animals think, learn and make decisions. Most recently, Muth is conducting research in the lab and in the field to understand how commonly-used pesticides (neonicotinoids) are affecting bumblebees' foraging and pollination behavior. Since bees are major pollinators of both wild flowers and crops, this question has implications for natural ecosystems and human food security. The L'Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will enable Muth to hire a female research assistant and purchase key equipment, both of which will allow her to improve research outputs. Female mentors were critical in Muth's decision to pursue a career in science, and, in turn, mentoring female students has played a substantial role in her scientific career. Muth has collaborated with the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada and Nevada Bugs and Butterflies and will use some of her fellowship funding to organize outreach activities for young girls through these organizations. Muth, 29, received her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of St. Andrews and a degree in Zoology from the University of Edinburgh. Born and raised in London, England, Muth now resides in Reno, Nevada and enjoys rock climbing and hiking in her free time.
Ritu Raman is a postdoctoral fellow in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Raman's research focuses on the design of new smart materials that dynamically respond and adapt to their environment. Specifically, Raman is developing these smart materials and using them to transform the way we deliver medication to people through the creation of a long-lasting pill device that delivers oral medication more reliably, cost-effectively and efficiently. The L'Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Raman the freedom to conduct her pioneering research and collaborate with other scientists, engineers and clinicians in this effort. Raman has been passionate about inspiring girls and women in STEM fields throughout her career, including helping found and grow the University of Illinois chapter of the Graduate Society of Women Engineers. Raman, 26, received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University. Born and raised in India, Kenya and throughout the United States, Raman now resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she enjoys writing, running and being outdoors in her free time.
Sydney Schreppler is a postdoctoral fellow in Physics at the University of California, Berkeley. Schreppler is working to study and measure superconducting qubits, which are tiny circuits that mimic the behavior of the smallest particles in the world. Schreppler hopes that by furthering our understanding of superconducting qubits we can improve today's devices that rely on precise measurements including microscopes, GPS satellites, MRI machines and computers. Having personally benefitted from her experience as a research assistant early in her career, Schreppler will use a portion of the L'Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship funding to hire a female graduate student mentee who will receive hands-on training and the opportunity to contribute to this innovative study. Additionally, the fellowship will enable Schreppler to build new experiments with superconducting qubits by supporting materials and manufacturing costs. Schreppler is committed to mentoring women within and outside of STEM. In addition to serving as the postdoctoral coordinator for the Society of Women in the Professional Sciences at UC Berkeley, Schreppler also serves as the head coach of the school's women's club lacrosse team. Schreppler, 29, received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Physics from UC Berkeley and a B.S. in Physics from Yale. Born and raised in Delaware, Schreppler now lives in Berkeley, California where she enjoys hiking, road biking, camping and skiing in her free time.
Molly Schumer is a postdoctoral fellow in Genetics and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard Medical School. Schumer's research focuses on investigating how evolutionary forces shape our genes. Specifically, she is working to understand why a trait that can cause melanoma has persisted in swordtail fish for over a million years. Through this research, Schumer hopes to identify signals that may ultimately help us learn the genetic and evolutionary causes of diseases. The L'Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Schumer with independence to pursue this research. Schumer has been passionate about science education throughout her career including working for two years as a Teach for America sixth grade science teacher in rural Mississippi. As part of her fellowship, Schumer plans to work with local schools to start a coding program for middle and high school girls. Schumer, 30, received her Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from Princeton and B.S. in Biology from Reed College. Schumer grew up in Enumclaw, Washington, and currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband where she loves to hike, run, travel and cook in her free time.
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 American brands: Baxter of California, Carol's Daughter, Clarisonic, Dermablend, Essie, IT Cosmetics, Kiehl's, Matrix, Maybelline New York, Mizani, NYX Professional Makeup, Pureology, 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 11,000 people, and operates administrative, research, manufacturing and distribution facilities across 14 states, including Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Washington. For more information, visit www.lorealusa.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @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, the digital, open-access journal Science Advances, 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!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news website, a service of AAAS. See www.aaas.org.
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