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Five Researchers Win 2007 L'Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science
Five postdoctoral researchers working in the fields of geochemistry, neuroscience, oceanography, physical chemistry and bioengineering were awarded the 2007 L'Oréal USA Fellowships For Women in Science, administered by AAAS's Education and Human Resources Program and sponsored by L'Oréal USA.
According to new survey results released by L'Oréal USA at the award ceremony, 65 percent of adults picture a typical scientist as a man over the age of 40, and 73 percent say there are too few female role models in the sciences. AAAS and L'Oréal USA hope the five new winners of the Fellowships can help change the public image of women researchers.
"It is critical to encourage women, who represent almost half the workforce but hold less than a quarter of all scientific jobs, to pursue scientific career paths. Now more than ever, the world needs science and science needs women," said Laurent Attal, President and CEO of L'Oréal USA.
"Like L'Oréal USA, the AAAS Board of Directors has had a long standing commitment to increasing the participation and advancement of women in science. This is the Fellows' first funded research grant award, and that is important in a climate where it is hard for new investigators to get a research grant," said Yolanda George, Deputy Director of AAAS's Education and Human Resources Program.
This year's winners, honored at a New York City ceremony on 24 May, are:
Jaime D. Barnes, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; studying the geochemistry of volcanic eruptions
Sarah Clinton, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; studying the roles of nature and nurture in emotional behavior in rats
Julie Huber, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts; studying the microbial ecology of deep-sea vents
Maria Kirsch, University of California, Irvine; studying how liquids and vapors interact at the molecular level
Kim Woodrow, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; studying biodegradable nanoparticles for drug delivery
The winners each received a $40,000 research award, double the amount given in the past three years of the Fellowships. The researchers also participated in a media training workshop and a career advancement workshop organized by AAAS that brought together science and human resources leaders.
The leaders offered "insider tips based on their own experiences" to the Fellowship winners, explained George. "We ask them to focus on the common mistakes that people make with media interviews, job searches, writing a journal article and applying for grants."
The day's events included a panel discussion of the image of women in science, moderated by Monica Bradford, executive editor of Science. The panel talked about some of the other results from the L'Oréal survey, particularly how teen girls think about science role models and future careers in sciences.
Only 15 percent of teen girls surveyed said they would definitely pursue a scientific career; only 22 percent of those surveyed thought of scientists as "cool" or "popular" people. The survey shows "that we don't need to focus on a 'new' image for women scientists, but create an image as none currently exists," said Bradford.
Bradford said young women need to know that "a science education is never wasted.
Learning to question and solve problems, skills that are central to science, are great skills to master for every aspect in life."
The L'Oréal USA Fellowships For Women in Science are awarded to women engaged in basic research in the life and physical and material sciences, technology (including computer science), engineering, and mathematics. The United States award was launched in 2003 as a component of the UNESCO-L'Oréal For Women in Science Program, which recognizes outstanding women researchers and graduate studies and postdoctoral fellows engaged in exemplary research projects.
1 June 2007