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Fellowship Kick-starts Careers for Young Women Scientists
Two neuroscientists, a physicist, a chemical oceanographer and an aerospace engineer have been selected from a pool of nearly 200 applicants to receive the 2008 L'Oréal USA Fellowships For Women in Science. In its third year under AAAS administration, this highly competitive fellowship program aims to help launch the careers of young women researchers in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.
This year's L'Oréal USA Fellows are:
Sara Aton, a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia;
Ania Bleszynski-Jayich, a physicist at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.;
Laura Lapham, a chemical oceanographer at Florida State University in Tallahassee;
Sridevi Vedula Sarma, a computational neuroscientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge; and
Sandra Ugrina, an aerospace engineer at the University of Maryland in College Park.
"L'Oréal is a steadfast and highly visible supporter of women in science," said Shirley Malcom, who heads AAAS's Education and Human Resources programs. "This visibility allows us to tell the story of the women's work and their lives."
The year-long, $40,000 fellowship program—which began in 2003—is typically the first sizeable grant money obtained by the young researchers, all of whom are postdoctoral scientists. The awardees use the money to begin independent research, such as by purchasing laboratory equipment and traveling to develop international research collaborations and to attend scientific conferences.
The L'Oréal USA Fellows traveled to New York City from 19-22 May for a series of professional development events culminating in an award ceremony lunch at the American Museum of Natural History. During the week, the fellows attended a day-long professional development workshop held on 20 May and organized by AAAS's Yolanda George, deputy director of Education and Human Resources Programs. Laura Zahn, associate editor for Science, which is published by AAAS, led a discussion on how to publish in prestigious journals. Other discussions focused on and how to obtain grants and the job search process.
On the 21 May, the fellows toured L'Oréal USA's New Jersey laboratory, where they learned about Research & Development at the company and visited its research and consumer testing facilities. Women scientists at L'Oréal told the fellows about their experiences working in the corporate world, and the fellows gave presentations on their own research.
Since its launch in 2003, the L'Oréal USA Fellowships For Women in Science program has recognized 25 young women researchers in the United States. The award, which is open to postdoctoral researchers in the United States, is the U.S. component of the international UNESCO-L'ORÉAL International Fellowships program.
2 June 2008