University receives Clare Boothe Luce scholarships for fourth time

Scholarships support female undergraduates in chemistry, computer science and physics | June 26, 2007

The University is the recipient of a $295,000 grant for the fourth time from the Clare Boothe Luce program of the Henry Luce Foundation. With this funding, Xavier will award four of the scholarships to female undergraduates majoring in chemistry, computer science and physics.

Two scholarships are being awarded for fall 2008 and two are being awarded for fall 2009. These merit-based awards cover the cost of full tuition and provide room, board and book allowances for two years. In addition, the scholarships include a summer research stipend and housing allowance.

“The Clare Boothe Luce grant will undoubtedly help us sustain the momentum we started years ago in encouraging, increasing and supporting the participation of young women in targeted disciplines such as chemistry, physics and computer science,” says Janice B. Walker, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I look forward to working with the faculty to launch the new initiatives in the grant that will have immediate and lasting impact on the lives and education of many female students.”

Along with awarding these scholarships, Xavier is launching a new initiative focused on encouraging more women to participate in research starting early in their undergraduate studies. This program invites first-year women in introductory level science and mathematics courses to on-going gatherings that showcase the research projects of upperclass women. The program includes female graduates, as well as Luce scholars, who have continued into graduate school and science careers.

Through the female research community that develops from these gatherings, students are mentored by peers and faculty on topics such as how to get started in summer research, how to apply for off-campus research opportunities and how to be prepared for graduate school.

It is Xavier’s goal that every female student in chemistry, computer science and physics participates in summer research and presents research at one or more professional meetings and that the percentage of Xavier women who go to graduate school in science betters national statistics.

The Clare Boothe Luce program stands alone as the single most significant source of private support for women in science, engineering and mathematics. 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. She appreciated, however, that many women face obstacles in their chosen professions. In her bequest establishing this program, she sought to “encourage women to enter, study, graduate and teach” in the sciences (including mathematics) and engineering.