Changing the Face of STEM

L’Oréal USA today announced the 2019 recipients of its annual "Changing the Face of STEM" (CTFS) mentoring grants, which are issued through the beauty leader's For Women in Science program.

The selected projects represent a broad range of activities focused on mentoring and engaging girls and women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), from elementary to graduate school. The grants will help fund STEM programs in Missouri, Texas, Florida, New York, Washington, Maryland, Massachusetts, and California.

Now in its fourth year, the CTFS program supports former L’Oréal USA For Women in Science (FWIS) fellows in their efforts to inspire the next generation of girls and women in STEM. Members of the L’Oréal USA For Women in Science alumni network were given the opportunity to apply for $2,500 grants to help fund new or existing mentoring projects in their communities. The awards will be administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), official partner of the L’Oréal USA For Women in Science program.

L’Oréal USA is dedicated to empowering the next generation of women in science through our Changing the Face of STEM grant program,” said Lauren Paige, Vice President of Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives at L’Oréal USA. “We’re proud that over the last four years this program has enabled our alumni to create engaging opportunities to inspire future scientists in their communities, build on those initiatives and expand the reach of their mentorship."

I am thrilled to use my second Changing the Face of STEM grant to support my student exchange program between students at Cornell University and Arusha Technical College (ATC) in Tanzania,” said Dr. Nozomi Nishimura, Associate Professor at Cornell University and 2009 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellow. “Through the program, we’re seeking to improve healthcare in Tanzania by empowering and training local women, and with the funding from L’Oréal, ensuring these women will take part in the exchange program on their way to becoming biomedical engineers.

The 2019 Changing the Face of STEM grants will support the following fellows, and their projects, across the United States:

Dr. Trisha Andrew Associate Professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and 2011 L’Oréal USA FWIS Fellow

Dr. Andrew is using her second CTFS grant to continue her internship program that targets STEM students from Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). The program helps fortify the number of underrepresented students in chemistry and engineering.

STCC, Massachusetts’ only technical community college, runs a program called STEM Starter Academy to enhance student readiness for STEM jobs or transfer to a four-year academic STEM program.  Dr. Andrew currently runs a seminar with Starter Academy students to help educate them about what it means to work in STEM.

The CTFS grant will allow Dr. Andrew to expand her involvement by hiring her second female intern from the Starter Academy and providing her with a stipend, which is integral to growing the program and attracting a diverse student population.

Dr. Arpita Bose, Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis and 2013 L’Oréal USA FWIS Fellow

Dr. Arpita Bose is using her second CTFS grant to continue supporting the “Gateway Science Summer Program;” a partnership she created in 2017 with the Gateway Science Academy of St. Louis. The program pairs three low-income high school students with Dr. Bose and one of her colleagues at Washington University at St. Louis, Dr. Josh Blodgett. Students receive mentorship from Dr. Bose and Dr. Blodgett, and the summer program allows them to gain exposure to real lab experience and STEM careers.

For the seven students who have benefited from the program since its inception, the support from Washington University has helped them gain the skills and confidence necessary to apply to college STEM programs. With support from L’Oréal USA, Dr. Bose hopes to attract additional funding that would allow the program to grow sustainably in the coming years.

Dr. Livia S. Eberlin Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and 2014 L’Oréal USA FWIS Fellow

Dr. Eberlin is using her third CTFS grant to continue supporting the “My Science <->My Life” mentoring program. The initial CTFS grant helped Dr. Eberlin launch the “My Science <-> My Life program in the Fall of 2018. The program provides a unique mentorship opportunity for women undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin who are interested in pursuing careers in STEM.

As a successful researcher and mother of young children, Dr. Eberlin has seen how women are often interested in entering the academic or private sector STEM workforce but are fearful of how their careers may impact their personal lives. By providing students with personal and professional mentorship and positive role models, Dr. Eberlin aims to keep women in active and ambitious STEM jobs while also encouraging them to strike an equilibrium (in Chemistry, symbolized by “<->”) between science and life.

The CTFS grant will allow Dr. Eberlin to expand the program to other departments in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas, as well as to the private sector, with the ultimate goal of evolving the program into a national platform for female STEM professionals.

Dr. M. Nia Madison, Director of HIV Research/Assistant Professor at Miami Dade College and 2010 L’Oréal USA FWIS Fellow

Dr. Madison is using her fourth CTFS grant to continue supporting the Miami Dade College Microbiology Girls Club, which introduces local minority high school girls to careers in biomedical sciences while being immersed in a collegiate atmosphere.

This workshop series is an effort to mentor and recruit girls to college and careers in biomedical sciences in order to diversify the field and help stop the leaky pipeline of women in STEM.

Dr. Madison’s workshop series gives participants an opportunity to conduct experiments, learn techniques, experience life as a collegiate scientist, and spark further interest and awareness of successful scientists that come from similarly diverse backgrounds. Now reaching 50 girls per year, the program has a considerable alumni base who return to serve as mentors to each new cohort of the Microbiology Girls Club.

Dr. Felicity Muth Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin and 2017 L’Oréal USA FWIS Fellow

Dr. Muth is using her first CTFS grant to provide support for a female undergraduate student to undertake an independent research project in her lab. Under Dr. Muth’s mentorship, the student will independently collect data, analyze results and submit the report for publication.

The student will have the opportunity to present at Research Week at UT Austin, present at a national conference, as well as participate in and lead community outreach events. This grant will not only expose the student researcher to what an academic career looks like, it will also grant her the opportunity to develop relationships with other researchers.

Dr. Muth has long been committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists, and in 2018 was awarded the University of Nevada, Reno’s Postdoctoral Award for Exceptional Mentoring for her mentorship of undergraduate students.

Dr. Shruti Naik, Assistant Professor at the New York University School of Medicine and 2016 L’Oréal USA FWIS Fellow

Dr. Naik and NYU Langone will be using their first CTFS grant to host the inaugural “Let’s Have an Awesome Time Doing Science” event.

Realizing the pressure and isolation that can result from laboratory work in biomedical sciences, Dr. Naik and her colleagues set out to create a supportive local community that will counter these negative effects and increase representation of women and other underrepresented groups in the field.

This day-long event will include a series of workshops aimed at informal networking and building soft skills for success in science. These will include improvisation workshops, learning time management, how to have difficult conversations, and how to be more involved in scientific outreach.

The workshops will be followed by a series of prominent speakers. Participants of this event will leave with a broader network of support, enhanced career skills, and a renewed sense of excitement about science.

Dr. Nozomi Nishimura, Associate Professor at Cornell University and 2009 L’Oréal USA FWIS Fellow

Dr. Nishimura will use her second CTFS grant to support her recently-created student exchange program between Biomedical Engineering (BME) students at Cornell University and Arusha Technical College (ATC) in Tanzania.

This ATC-Cornell exchange program seeks to improve health care in Tanzania by building local expertise through a new BME program that trains technicians to maintain and service non-functional medical equipment. As part of the program, six Cornell BME students will visit Tanzania during August 2019, accompanied by 1-2 Cornell BME faculty.

The Cornell students will be paired with ATC students and join them on internships in local area hospitals and medical clinics, working to repair, improve, and innovate medical equipment. During the inaugural fall semester, the same ATC student participants will come to Cornell to receive technical training and networking opportunities.

Last year’s CTFS grant funded one female Tanzanian student’s travel to Cornell to participate in the program, and continued funding support from L’Oréal allows the program to ensure Tanzanian women will take part in the exchange program on their way to becoming Biomedical Engineers.

Dr. Lauren O’Connell, Assistant Professor at Stanford University and 2014 L’Oréal USA FWIS Fellow

Dr. O’Connell plans to use her third CTFS grant to develop a new module for her Frogger School Program, a nationwide initiative since 2013 to place (non-toxic) poison frogs into classrooms and develop K-12 curricula linking classroom poison frogs into biology and chemistry education modules.

The program aims to enhance ecology and climate change education in high schools participating in the program. As leaf litter harbors important life-sustaining organisms for poison frogs, deforestation and loss of tree cover can have serious impacts on their populations. “Backyard Leaf Litter in a Changing World” will equip classrooms with an educational module and leaf litter survey supplies so they can sample leaf litter on their own school campus, and make observations about how different environments nurture different organisms. Importantly, this will be done by sampling in their own communities, making the realities of environmental change more meaningful.

Dr. Amy Orsborn, Assistant Professor at the University of Washington and 2016 L’Oréal USA - FWIS Fellow

Dr. Orsborn will be using her first CTFS grant to support her mentorship organization that promotes Women In Neural Engineering (WINE). WINE was founded in January 2019 by Dr. Karen Moxon (UC Davis) and has an executive committee of 10 other female faculty.

Their mission is to provide vital peer‐to‐peer mentorship and networking for women in neural engineering. The group’s initial efforts center on women at the faculty level, as this career stage represents a key bottleneck towards inclusive STEM leadership. The CTFS grant will help WINE provide mentorship and outreach across the training pipeline.

Dr. Pardis Sabeti, Professor at Harvard University and the Broad Institute and 2004 L’Oréal USA -FWIS Fellow

Dr. Sabeti along with Broad Institute colleague Andres Colubri and Sarasota Military Prep Academy colleague Todd Brown will be using their third CTFS grant to integrate STEM technology into the ongoing ‘Operation Outbreak’ simulation called O2.

This experiential learning exercise replicates a potential real-world outbreak scenario via mobile apps and Bluetooth technology, mimicking the spread of a real viral pathogen and teaching students how to respond to such an outbreak through a coordinated community effort.

This year’s grant will go towards software and app development that will help O2 reach new beneficiaries and increase the simulation’s realism. The initiative’s long-term goal is to offer a flexible and robust platform that anybody around the world can adapt to their specific settings, and use to generate awareness about infectious diseases, prepare members of a population for the response measures required during an outbreak, and help with the generation and collection of associated data.

Dr. Sridevi Sarma, Associate Professor at John Hopkins University and 2008 L’Oréal USA FWIS Fellow

Dr. Sarma is using her third CTFS grant to continue hosting a physics project with the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. In Spring 2018, Dr. Sarma and PhD candidate Macauley Breault developed and executed a fun and competitive STEM activity that brought together more than two dozen Girl Scout Cadette troops (ages 10-12) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The CTFS grant will allow her to repeat this successful project in 2020. The Girl Scout Roller Coaster Contest challenges participants’ engineering skills as they compete to build roller coasters out of household materials.

Led by Dr. Sarma and a dozen female PhD candidates in her lab, each troop will learn about the physics of roller coasters, which will then help them to design a model for a chance to win tickets to Six Flags America.

For more Information about L’Oréal USA's For Women in Science program and Changing the Face of STEM, please click here

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