Harvard biologist Lauren O’Connell among winners of science fellowship
From L’Oréal USA, Nov. 6: L’Oréal USA has announced the recipients of the 2014 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship, which recognize five U.S.-based female researchers for their outstanding contributions in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Recipients receive $60,000 each for their postdoctoral research.
Winners included Lauren O’Connell, of Harvard University, a biologist studying poison dart frogs in the Amazon, research that could lead to biomedical discoveries and improved conservation. Recognizing that colorful tropical frogs are an appealing introduction to science for young students, O’Connell also founded the “Little Froggers School Program” in partnership with K-12 science teachers in New England to bring engaging science to public school classrooms.
The fellowship program included a new requirement this year focused on ensuring the fellows have a commitment to serving as role models for younger generations. The 2014 fellowship candidates were evaluated based on their intellectual merit, research potential, scientific excellence and their commitment to supporting women and girls in science. Applications were reviewed by experienced scientists in the candidates’ respective fields through a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who manages the application process.
Other winners were Katie Brenner, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Livia S. Eberlin, Stanford University; Jennifer Laaser, University of Minnesota; and Sabrina Stierwalt, University of Virginia.
As part of the program, L’Oréal USA is hosting a weeklong program of activities to engage the fellows in the broader STEM community. The fellows will participate in a White House roundtable with women scientists, visit Congressional offices, participate in a mentoring session with local high school students at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Q?rius lab and tour L’Oréal’s research labs in Clark, N.J.
The activities will culminate with an awards ceremony Thursday, when the fellows will be honored in front of government, community and STEM leaders. L’Oréal USA has also partnered with Teen Vogue and the National Girls Collaborative Project to sponsor 25 local young women interested in pursuing STEM careers to attend the event as guests.
“With a scientific workforce made up of more than 70 percent women, L’Oréal relies on the contributions women make in the STEM fields every single day,” said Kristina Schake, chief communications officer at L’Oréal USA. “We are proud to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of these women and hope to inspire younger generations of girls to embrace STEM as a viable and attractive career option.”
The L’Oréal For Women in Science program is a global program that recognizes and rewards women scientists around the world at critical stages of their career. Since the program began in 1998, more than 2,000 scientists in 100-plus countries have been recognized for their work in the field. Celebrating its 11th year in the United States, the For Women in Science program has awarded 55 postdoctoral women scientists more than $2 million in grants.