Saint Mary’s Receives Clare Boothe Luce Grant to Establish Women in Science Scholars Program

scienceSaint Mary’s College has received a $300,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation through its Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Program to support and encourage the success of women students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Saint Mary’s new CBL Scholars Program provides full scholarships for eight upper division women science majors over three years.

Since 1989, the CBL Program has become the single most significant source of private support for women in science, mathematics and engineering. Its mission includes fostering academic opportunities for women in STEM disciplines in which they are underrepresented, and supporting Catholic institutions with strong science programs.

Saint Mary’s Provost Bethami Dobkin said she was extremely proud of the College’s selection as a CBL grant recipient. “This prestigious award recognizes Saint Mary’s academic excellence, our commitment to fulfilling the scientific potential of talented women students in our School of Science and our Catholic mission of education for societal change," said Dobkin.

Saint Mary’s CBL Scholars will be provided with full scholarships for their junior and senior years. The new program was made possible by the Luce Foundation grant and $470,000 in College financial aid contributions and additional federal resources.

The academic focus for CBL Scholars includes physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, and environmental and earth sciences. Students will be selected based on academic merit, faculty recommendations, leadership and a strong interest in graduate school or a career in industrial or academic research.

“This award will have an impact. Historically these disciplines have had low numbers of women pursuing them as undergraduate concentrations, and this program helps to change that disparity,” said School of Science Dean Roy Wensley. “We have students who have demonstrated achievement in these STEM fields and this grant provides critical support for those who’ve shown promise for a career in research.”

Physics Professor Jessica Kintner, who directs the new program, said rewarding academic excellence in STEM education with scholarships for women is a powerful force for change. “Creating cohorts of scholars will demonstrate our commitment to these students’ success and to building a community of women scientists,” said Kintner. In addition to directing the CBL Scholars program, Kintner is the chair of Saint Mary’s Physics department and says the new grant validates the direction the School of Science is taking. “Receiving this award is a sign that we are already doing a lot of things right, and these grants will help us continue that work.”

The CBL Scholars program builds on the College’s efforts to support students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. Saint Mary’s recently announced a new National Science Foundation grant for academically talented low-income students majoring in STEM fields. It also has an ongoing commitment to providing undergraduate research opportunities through summer research programs and faculty mentoring. 

“Saint Mary’s is committed to making a difference in society by providing academically rigorous and affordable educational opportunities for our students,” said Vice President for Advancement Lisa Moore, '96. “This new grant is part of our effort toward that goal. We are very grateful to the Henry Luce Foundation for its generous support and we welcome other donors and friends of the College to invest in the promise of Saint Mary’s students.”

The CBL Scholars Program honors Clare Boothe Luce, the widow of Henry R. Luce, 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. To date, the program has supported more than 1,900 women.

For more information about Saint Mary’s CBL Scholars Program contact Cheryl Kelly, administrative assistant to School of Science Dean Roy Wensley at (925) 631-4409 or ckelly@stmarys-ca.edu.

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The Saint Mary’s College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church’s oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 4,200 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary’s College at stmarys-ca.edu and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.