L'Oréal Names Women in Science Recipients

L’Oréal USA today 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 (STEM) fields. Recipients receive $60,000 each for their postdoctoral research.

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 over 100 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 post-doctoral women scientists more than $2 million in grants.

"With a scientific workforce made up of more than 70% 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 U.S. 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 (AAAS), who manages the application process.

This year's awards will recognize and support the following female scientists and their research:

Katie Brenner, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison–A bioengineer who developed a technique to enable early diagnosis of neonatal infections, Brenner's research is already generating results that will change the standard of neonatal care and help save babies' lives. In addition to mentoring undergraduate women researchers, Brenner also works with a local high school teacher on developing a series of laboratory experiments designed to bring cutting-edge science to a rural population.

Livia S. Eberlin, PhD, Stanford University–After discovering the limitations of cancer diagnosis methods currently used today, Eberlin, a chemist, developed her own technique to more efficiently diagnose and evaluate cancer–a technique that's proving to be incredibly promising in a pilot program for gastric and other cancers. Eberlin also serves as a mentor to a female scientist through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program, which provides undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds with summer research experiences.

Jennifer Laaser, PhD, University of Minnesota–A physical chemist investigating how positively charged particles interact with negatively charged polymers like DNA, Laaser's research will impact future efforts to design gene therapies. Laaser is also active in her university's Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) group, where she helps lead "Cool Chemistry," an outreach event that brings local middle school girls to campus for chemistry activities and demonstrations.

Lauren O'Connell, PhD, Harvard University –O'Connell is a biologist studying poison dart frogs in the Amazon, research that could lead to new 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.

Sabrina Stierwalt, PhD, University of Virginia – Stierwalt is an astrophysicist leading a multi-university team on ground-breaking research to understand how galaxies were formed. Stierwalt has been committed to promoting STEM education throughout her career, including her time as co-founder of the Graduate Women in Physics at Cornell and her current role as a volunteer teacher for Dark Skies, Bright Kids, an afterschool program for underserved rural students.

As part of this year's program, L’Oréal USA will be hosting a multi-faceted, week-long program of activities to engage the fellows in the broader STEM community. The activities will culminate with an awards ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 13, where 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 special guests.

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