Xavier awards Clare Boothe Luce science scholarships to three women students for junior and senior years

The women are majoring in computer science, chemistry and physics | April 20, 2012

Xavier has awarded three scholarships for women in chemistry, computer science or physics from the Clare Boothe Luce Program of the Henry Luce Foundation. The students will receive Clare Boothe Luce scholarships for their junior and senior years.

This year the scholarships are going to Arika Branch of Galloway, Ohio, a sophomore in computer science, Angela Hanna of Greenville, Pa., a sophomore in chemistry, and Laura Kaiser of Cincinnati, a sophomore in physics.

The percentage of Xavier women graduates in chemistry continues to exceed national rates, while for computer science and physics, Xavier tracks national rates. Xavier also exceeds national rates for women attending graduate school in chemistry and physics.

“The funding offers us a tremendous opportunity to support the success of female students pursuing degrees and careers in chemistry, computer science and physics,” said President Michael J. Graham, S.J. “Xavier’s emphasis on undergraduate research, particularly in the STEM fields, provides a strong foundation for ongoing study in the sciences.”

Xavier leads more women to graduate school and science careers by encouraging them to participate in Xavier’s culture of undergraduate research and by continuing its program for first-year female science majors to learn about research from upperclass women, as well as a program that invites alumni to discuss non-medical science career paths. Of the 12 Xavier women who received full Clare Boothe Luce scholarships under prior grants, nine have pursued graduate education in a STEM discipline, and two of these have completed PhDs and are now at post-doctoral positions, one at Harvard University and one at Vanderbilt University. STEM refers to science, technology, engineering and math education.

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, the widow of Henry R. 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.