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Dr. Sally Ride Receives Role Model Award For Shaping Image of Women in Science
oday, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Laurent Attal, President and CEO, L'Oréal USA, and Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences, honored the 2007 recipients of the esteemed L'Oréal USA Fellowships For Women in Science. Now in its fourth year, the highly selective L'Oréal USA Fellowships annually recognize and reward five up-and-coming female scientists who are conducting innovative and groundbreaking research across scientific disciplines. Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; CEO Sally Ride Science, was also honored with the L'Oréal USA For Women in Science Role Model Award for her role in helping to shape the image of women in science.
The L'Oréal USA Fellowships offer three distinct levels of support to young women scientists. The program supports its awardees financially, by granting them $40,000 each to put toward their independent scientific research. It also helps them strengthen their networks in the scientific community. And it provides coaching and professional development workshops with accomplished women leaders in corporate, academic and government fields to help these Fellows be better prepared as they publish research, apply for grant funding and advance their careers.
"The discoveries of tomorrow may be uncovered by this year's impressive class of Fellows, who are tackling key scientific issues," said Laurent Attal, President and CEO, L'Oréal USA. "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."
The 2007 L'Oréal USA Fellows are:
# Dr. Jaime D. Barnes - University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico - earth scientist and geochemist, analyzing chlorine isotope ratios of rocks, minerals and volcanic gas to determine the source of chlorine emitted from active volcanoes. Dr. Barnes is identifying sources of chlorine in two very different subduction zones, and has recognized important isotopic fractionation processes between hydrochloric acid solutions and vapor, which have implications for the fundamental dissociation of hydrochlorine in aqueous solutions. Her work may hold the key to how volcanic eruptions occur and thus help scientists to predict future eruptions.
# Dr. Sarah Clinton - Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Research Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan - neuroscientist, studying the roles that nature and nurture play in shaping emotionality and emotionally-driven behaviors in rats. She is breeding two types of rats with differences in emotional behavior and comparing the impact of mothering-styles on their offspring's behavior and neural stress-circuitry. When complete, this body of work should yield a greater understanding of how genetic and environmental factors interact to shape inborn differences in emotionality which may, in turn, put certain individuals at risk for developing stress-induced psychiatric disorders.
# Dr. Julie Huber - Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts -oceanographer, researching the microbial ecology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Dr. Huber is using large insert DNA libraries to understand the metabolic capacity, genomic context and phylogenetic relationships of subseafloor communities. Her project applies a combined molecular diversity, metagenomic, and geochemical approach to provide a window into the microbial world. Dr. Huber's work will help researchers better understand how microbial populations function in and regulate the world's oceans.
# Dr. Maria Krisch - University of California, Irvine, Irvine, California - physical chemist, researching fundamental properties of the surfaces of liquid solutions. Dr. Krisch's area of focus is understanding liquid-vapor interfaces at the molecular level, which has been examined extensively with water-based solutions but not non-aqueous solutions. Her research focuses on liquid solutions of electrolytes, which are important in studying atmospheric chemistry. Her findings will have several practical applications, including bringing a much needed quantitative and physical picture to the role that aerosol particles play in pollution and climate change.
# Dr. Kim Woodrow - Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut - biomedical engineer, developing new drug delivery strategies and diagnostic tools for the monitoring and treatment of infectious diseases and cancer. Dr. Woodrow's research is doing this by using various bioactive peptides to engineer multifunctional nanoparticles. In particular, she is interested in designing biodegradable nanoparticles that will be efficiently delivered intracellularly once at a target site. This combination of molecular biology strategy and nanotechnology will likely translate into new technology for imaging and treating diseases.
A distinguished jury of seven eminent scientists -- presided over by Dr. Cicerone- selected the five fellowship beneficiaries from a competitive pool of highly qualified individuals. Each of this year's Fellows has achieved notable recognition in her respective field and is widely published in leading science journals such as Nature, The American Journal of Psychiatry, and Pharmaceutical Research. Combined, the women have first-authored 24 papers at this early stage of their careers.
"It is vital that we encourage emerging scientists who hold the key to future discoveries," said Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences. "L'Oréal USA's visionary Fellowships program cultivates women scientists and provides essential support as they embark on their careers."
The ceremony was preceded by a panel discussion, which included Dr. Ride and Peggy Conlon, CEO of the Ad Council, among others, who debated the image of science and the perceptions of women scientists in popular culture. The panel was moderated by Monica Bradford, executive editor of Science, who led a discussion on the practical steps necessary to engage more women in science. The panelists explored a variety of outlets, from television and mass media to education to public service announcments, and found that an innacurate portrayal of women scientists exists today across the board. They concluded by stating that for science to remain competitive in the U.S., young women need to be encouraged to participate in science, to know about the different scientific career paths that are possible and to have role models. Shaping an accurate perception of women in science is a necessary first step.
About L'Oréal USA Fellowships For Women in Science
The L'Oréal USA Fellowships For Women in Science program is designed to recognize, reward and advance the role of women in scientific research. Each year, this annual awards program honors five American women at the start of their scientific careers. Recipients receive $40,000 each toward independent scientific research. Launched in 2003 as the U.S. component of the UNESCO-L'OREAL International Fellowships program, the U.S. program aims to raise awareness of the contribution of women to the sciences, and to identify exceptional female researchers to serve as role models for young women and girls.
Since the L'OREAL-UNESCO For Women in Science international program’s inception in 1998, 47 Laureates and 105 Fellows have been recognized from around the world.
L'Oréal is a worldwide leader in the cosmetics industry, developing innovative products to meet the diverse needs of customers in 130 countries worldwide. Over 2,900 people work in the Group’s 16 research centers, located on three continents. Their findings are responsible for the registration of hundreds of patents annually. L'Oréal also devotes over 3% of sales annually to research and development – an investment unmatched anywhere else in the industry. Women represent 55% of L'Oréal’s research and development workforce.
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