Bellarmine receives grant to support research among women pursuing degrees in physical sciences

December 8, 2014

chemistry lab

Ten Bellarmine University students will receive funding to support their undergraduate research in the physical sciences over a two year period, thanks to a $105,000 Clare Boothe Luce Program grant to increase the participation of women in the sciences.

Juniors or seniors majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science or physics are eligible for the research grants, which cover the cost of two academic years of work in a lab with a faculty mentor, along with summer research.

Current students who would like to know more about this opportunity may email Dr. Jay Gatrell, vice provost.

Although women make up nearly half of the active U.S. workforce, they hold only 24 percent of jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) according to a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Women who pursue careers in STEM fields can expect an average pay boost of 33 percent over non-STEM work, according to the report.

“As admission to graduate school is becoming increasingly competitive, the need for research experience as an undergraduate has become a requirement,” said Dr. Amanda Krzysiak, assistant professor of chemistry at Bellarmine. “The first year of a research student’s experience is training. Typically, we spend hours training these students during their sole year of senior research only to see them leave for graduate school. The Clare Boothe Luce grant will allow the students to be trained as sophomores and provide them two full years of solid research. The potential for publishing the research findings benefits the students, the faculty and the university.”

“One of the best ways to prepare for work in the sciences is to conduct research, beginning as an undergraduate student,” said Dr. Katherine Bulinski, associate professor of geoscience in Bellarmine’s School of Environmental Studies  “This grant will allow Bellarmine to strengthen our ongoing efforts in promoting and supporting student research, focusing on women who are historically underrepresented in STEM disciplines, by giving them financial resources to obtain the supplies needed to formulate meaningful, cutting-edge projects that we hope can advance the field of environmental science.”

Since its first grants in 1989, the Clare Boothe Luce Program has become the single most significant source of private support for women in science, mathematics and engineering. Clare Boothe Luce was a playwright, journalist, U.S. Ambassador to Italy and the first woman elected to Congress from Connecticut. In her bequest establishing this program, she sought “to encourage women to enter, study, graduate, and teach” in science, mathematics and engineering. To date, the program has supported more than 1900 women.


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