Friday, October 25, 2013

L'ORÉAL USA FELLOWSHIPS FOR WOMEN IN SCIENCE 2013 Fellowship Winners Get Feted, Funded +Glam

American Museum of Natural History, NYC

The big whale room (as it's fondly referred to...) inside the Big Apple's colossal American Museum of Natural History was the perfect venue for a reception honoring five women who are a lot smarter/focused than your average human, a lot glammier (that evening), and more funded dollar wise-up to $60,000-as the select winners of the annual L'Oréal USA Fellowships honoring post-Doctorate women in science.
Suzie Davidowitz, Senior V.P. of L'Oreal USA  introduced guest of honor Jessica Rosenworcel FCC Commissioner (a lawyer by training) and via film, NYS Senator Kristen Gillebrand-who both cited the stat that, although women make up 50%+ of the work force-only a quarter (-) of STEM professionals are women-where notably, the job growth is. And the USA already lags behind other countries in these fields.

In it's 10th year, these fellowships, part of the global L'Oreál and UNESCO Women In Science Program- are competitively given to the brightest and most promising women engaged in research- in what is known as STEM fields of study (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).  

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel's first executive decision as a newly appointed FCC Commissioner was to get rid of a large dining room like table in her new office....that served as a metaphor for the importance of bringing women to the table and encouraging other women to "bring up a chair" in areas lacking female input.
And this year's select group deservedly got the honors for almost beyond comprehension research projects-that all have practical implications for the day to day of 21st century living. 

In a good way-ranging from improved solar energy capabilities-to potential effective, biologically derived,  treatments for auto-immune diseases.

Dr. Shirley Malcolm - Head of Directorate of Education and Human Resource Program with American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS.) introduced the 5 winners-an impressive feat considering 350 candidates were reviewed. With Frédéric Rozé President and CEO, L'Oréal USA. 

Arpita Bose work on biologically derived sources of fuel (we think) cited "love at first sight" after seeing bacteria under a microscope in 9th grade.

Anisa Salim Ismail hails from Kenya and a multi-lingual family that emphasized communication skills ---is studying why the 120 TRILLION (yup) bacteria that makes up 90% of the human body communicates-hopefully leading to insights into auto-immune diseases like Chrohn's.

Marathoner and new mom-Robin Evans Stanley's love of high school chemistry and puzzles as childhood gifts were both good practice for her lab work at the NIH -that examines cells eating themselves (our words) and implications for heart disease and cancers

Mary Caswell Stoddard's fascination with birds-and nature as a child was her first experience with science "in a simple way." Amazingly she clued us in that birds can see colors that are invisible to humans-and her grant will enable study of bird shells- hopefully leading to new composite materials those without wings can use. 

Luisa Whittaker-Brooks hails from Panama, is a Fulbright scholar and currently at Princeton. She amusingly thanked her husband for dragging her to the Social Security office to change her last name. Well survive that experience and one can do almost anything...such as develop alternative renewable energy sources by examining thermo-electric materials. Portable power is a big deal-we write about all the time with regards to the outdoors marketplace. But any sector of humanity needs this non-polluting-and inexpensive, renewable way to stay connected.

             Twitter @LOrealUSACorp

FYI:   L'Oréal's R+D division is made up of 70% women.