L’Oréal USA revealed the five recipients of the 2016 For Women in Science Fellowship. The fellowship honors female scientists at critical stages of their careers with $60,000 grants to advance their postdoctoral research.
This is the 13th year in the U.S. for the program, which has awarded 65 postdoctoral female scientists over $3 million in grants. The goal is to recognize exemplary woman scientists for their contributions in STEM and their commitment to serving as role models for younger generations.
“We are proud to recognize this group of exceptional female scientists for their innovative research and dedication to inspiring the next generation of women in STEM,” said Frédéric Rozé, president and ceo of L’Oréal USA. “By providing support at a pivotal moment in their careers, we hope to empower them to further their work, continue on a path to become future leaders in their fields and perhaps one day join our previous Laureates and win a Nobel Prize.”
From neurology to astrophysics, the five 2016 fellows are being honored for their groundbreaking research across a broad range of fields: Anela Choy, a postdoctoral fellow in biological oceanography and marine ecology at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute; Shruti Naik, a postdoctoral scientist in immunology and stem cell biology at The Rockefeller University; Amy Orsborn, a postdoctoral scientist in neuroscience at New York University; Laura Sampson, a postdoctoral fellow in physics at Northwestern University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics, and Moriel Zelikowsky, a postdoctoral neuroscientist in the Department of Biology & Biological Engineering at California Institute of Technology.
Created in 1998, the UNESCO-L’Oréal For Women in Science international awards identifies and supports accomplished female scientists around the world. Specifically, the program recognizes laureates for their contributions to the advancement of life or physical sciences and encourages more young women to pursue STEM — a field where women remain underrepresented. Through international program and the nearly 50 national and regional programs, such as the L’Oréal USA For Women in Science program, almost 2,500 female scientists from more than 100 countries have been granted fellowships to pursue promising research projects.
“The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship helped me navigate a critical professional year,” said Dr. Sarah Ballard, a 2016 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellow and current Torres Fellow for Exoplanetary Research at the MIT Kavli Institute. “The funding is enabling me to assemble my first research group, which will help me forge a new direction in my research and develop the talented young female scientists on my team.”
The 2016 fellowship candidates were evaluated based on their intellectual merit, research potential, scientific excellence and their commitment to supporting women and girls in science. The U.S. fellowship program also includes a requirement to ensure recipients are committed to serving as role models for younger generations. Applications were reviewed by experienced scientists in the candidates’ respective fields through a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which manages the application process.
L’Oréal USA will host an award ceremony for the fellows in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 6. The fellows will have the opportunity to engage with L’Oréal and other STEM leaders throughout the greater New York and Washington, D.C. communities the week of Oct. 3, leading up to the ceremony. It will begin with a visit to L’Oréal USA’s new corporate headquarters at Hudson Yards in New York City, followed by a mentoring session with students at Harrison Elementary School in Roselle, N.J. where they will guest-teach alongside L’Oréal scientists. They will then travel to Washington for a discussion at the White House about issues impacting women in STEM, followed by a roundtable discussion at the National Academy of Sciences conducted by the organization’s first female president, Marcia McNutt.