Since its first grants in 1989 the Clare Boothe Luce Program has become one of the most significant sources of private support for women in science, mathematics and engineering. Clare Boothe 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. Thus far, the program has supported more than 1900 women nationwide.
In 2016, Mount St. Mary’s received a $175,000 award from the Luce foundation that provides scholarships for women who are majoring in computer science, chemistry or math. The Clare Boothe Luce award goes to institutions that have strong STEM programs as well as a demonstrated commitment to gender equality among students and faculty. Professors Dr. Patti Kreke, Dr. Jonelle Hook, and Dr. Abigail Kula were the authors of this grant, and made it possible for women in STEM at the Mount to receive this opportunity. This year’s scholarship recipients are Annie Kayser (‘18), Molly Osbourne (’18) and Alaina Owen (’18).
Each recipient was surprised in class by faculty and friends with a large certificate acknowledging their award. Alaina Owen, a Chemistry major, said, “When the science faculty, the Dean, and President Trainor walked into my Anatomy class with noisemakers, balloons, and flowers, it surprised the whole class. When Dean Simmons announced that I had won the award, I was shocked. Dr. Kreke presented it to me and it felt like a dream come true. It was a real honor to receive such an incredible award.”
Alaina was not the only one honored by receiving this award. After receiving the Clare Boothe Luce award, Chemistry major Annie Kayser said, “I don't think that I will ever be able to fully express my gratitude to the Henry Luce Foundation, or the selection committee here at the Mount for this beautiful ability to advance my education in a field that I really love.” Molly Osbourne, a Mathematics major, was incredibly excited to receive the award, and is looking forward to giving back to the Women in STEM club saying, “I can't wait to continue participating in the Women in STEM Mentoring program and other activities that encourage young girls to explore their interest in STEM fields.”
It is a great honor for the School of Natural Science and Mathematics to be a part of the Clare Boothe Luce program. This year’s recipients are ideal models of Clare Boothe Luce’s vision. We are incredibly proud of our students, and pleased that we are able to support their education with these scholarships. Be sure to congratulate Annie Kayser, Molly Osbourne, and Alaina Owen.