Independent Minds, Working Together

Aspiring Female Scientists Selected as Inaugural Luce Scholars

Four women will receive funding for two years of collaborative research

March 12, 2012 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Four young female scientists have been chosen as the inaugural Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Research Scholars at The College of Wooster. Lauren Fleming, Tricia Hall, Rachelle Herrin, and Andrea Steiger were selected on the basis on their academic credentials, their interest in science, and their desire to pursue collaborative research opportunities with members of the faculty.

Fleming, a sophomore chemistry major with a 3.92 grade point average, is interested in atmospheric chemistry and would like to earn a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry. Her advisor, Karl Feierabend (assistant professor of chemistry at Wooster), describes her as a “conscientious, mature, and introspective student with a remarkable work ethic.”

Hall, a sophomore geology major with a 3.69 grade point average, plans to focus on geologic research as well as the physical chemistry that underlies the geology. She would like to pursue a graduate degree with a focus on the energy field. One of her faculty mentors characterized her as “one of our best and brightest sophomore geology majors and a woman of great promise.”

Herrin, a first-year biochemistry and molecular biology major with a 4.0 grade point average, is planning to look at the application of chemistry in molecular processes. Her adviser, James West (assistant professor of biology, biochemistry and molecular biology at Wooster), says she “shows excellent potential for becoming a leader in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) discipline.”

Steiger, a sophomore chemistry and environmental studies double major with a 3.9 grade point average, wants to study organic chemistry. One of her faculty advisors noted that she is of the “highest caliber with an intense curiosity and passion for research.” Steiger is interested in environmental chemistry, and will likely seek a Ph.D. in the field.

"I am very pleased that this fine group of women will serve as our first Clare Boothe Luce scholars,” said Heather Fitz Gibbon, Dean for Faculty Development at Wooster. “Each of these students has shown great promise as a leader in science and in our community."

The Clare Boothe Luce Research Scholars program is a new initiative that supports female science majors pursing research projects in the physical sciences. The program honors Clare Boothe Luce, playwright, journalist, U.S. Ambassador to Italy, and the first woman elected to Congress from Connecticut. Luce was a powerful advocate for women, and in the bequest for this program sought “to encourage women to enter, study, graduate, and teach science, mathematics, and engineering.”

Each scholar will receive funding for two full years of research. The CBL Research Scholars will take part in cohort activities and participate in mentoring programs for girls in science at Wooster, including B-WISER (Buckeye Women in Science, Engineering, and Research).