Five Female Biologists, Engineers and Physicists Receive L’Oréal Fellowships

Five women have been named For Women in Science fellows by L’Oréal USA and will receive grants of $60,000 to advance their scientific research. | L’Oréal USA

Five female scientists will receive grants of $60,000 each to further their postdoctoral research through L’Oréal USA’s For Women in Science fellowship program, which for the last fourteen years has sought to recognize the achievement of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and boost the ranks of women in STEM.

Recipients of this year’s For Women in Science award “exemplify the many contributions that women are making to STEM fields,” said Frédéric Rozé, president and CEO of L’Oréal USA, in an Oct. 10 statement.

The five winners are:

  • Kellie Ann Jurado, a postdoctoral scientist in immunobiology at Yale University, who is researching the effects of the Zika virus on the nervous system.
  • Felicity Muth, a postdoctoral fellow in biology at the University of Nevada, Reno, who is studying the impact of pesticides on bumblebee foraging and pollination behaviors.
  • Ritu Raman, a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical and biomedical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is researching the design of smart materials, which respond to their environment, and their use to deliver oral medications.
  • Sydney Schreppler, a postdoctoral fellow in physics at University of California, Berkeley, who is researching circuits that mimic the behavior of the world’s smallest particles, known as superconducting qubits.
  • Molly Schumer, a postdoctoral fellow in genetics and evolutionary biology at Harvard University, who is researching how evolutionary forces affect our genes.

The candidates were selected based on their intellectual merit, research potential, scientific excellence and commitment to encouraging the participation of girls and women in science. Experienced scientists reviewed applications from candidates in their field, a process administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Since 2003, the program has honored early-career female scientists, distributing more than $3 million in grants to 65 female postdoctoral scientists. The program in the U.S. is part of L’Oréal’s international efforts to foster the participation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics: the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science International Awards, which was created in 1998.

The fellowship “was transformative in my research career and life,” said Pardis Sabeti, a computational geneticist, a professor at Harvard University and the Broad Institute, and a 2004 For Women in Science award recipient. “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 fellows have a full slate of events around New York and Washington, D.C., the week of Nov. 6. They will participate in a roundtable discussion on challenges and opportunities for women in science at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, attend In Pursuit: An Atlantic Summit on Women and Science, visit L’Oréal USA’s corporate headquarters and its research and innovation facility, and mentor students at a New Jersey elementary school. The week culminates with an awards ceremony on Nov. 9 at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.