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$270,000 grant provides new graduate fellowships for women Buckeye engineers

The Ohio State University College of Engineering received a $270,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation’s Clare Boothe Luce Program to help recruit and retain high-achieving female doctoral students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The grant will fund two Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Graduate Fellowships, providing two years of financial support, mentoring and professional development for recipients. 

A woman researcher adjust a knob on a machine in the biosensor lab.

“This generous support from the Henry Luce Foundation will help Ohio State attract the best and brightest women into the electrical and computer engineering graduate program. It will bring the university a step closer to achieving gender parity in a discipline where women continue to be underrepresented,” said grant project lead La’Tonia Stiner-Jones, assistant dean of graduate programs for the College of Engineering and assistant professor of practice in biomedical engineering.

As part of Ohio State’s commitment to increasing the number of women in science and engineering on its campuses, the university will fund two additional two-year CBL fellowships.

In addition to tuition, Clare Boothe Luce Graduate Fellows will also receive an annual stipend.

“The CBL Graduate Fellowships will lay the groundwork for student success by providing full support for the first two years of graduate education, ensuring recipients have time to gain their footing and define their research agendas,” said co-project lead Betty Lise Anderson, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The CBL Fellows will receive one-on-one mentoring from women electrical and computer engineering faculty to support their academic, professional and future career success. Recipients will also participate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s K-12 Outreach Program, led by Anderson, enabling them to develop advanced leadership skills while also inspiring the next generation of female engineers and scientists.

“One factor that inspires women to pursue and remain in STEM careers is having examples of successful women who have done the same,” explained Anderson. “Mentoring has been shown to be one of the crucial factors for graduate student success, particularly for women and underrepresented groups.”

Over the past decade, Ohio State has made significant gains in the hiring of female faculty and has demonstrated consistent improvement in the representation of women in the graduate student body across STEM fields. Since 2015, the College of Engineering has recruited more than 100 new faculty members, with women accounting for nearly 40 percent of all hires and had a 10 percent increase in female graduate student enrollment in 2017-2018.

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. Since its first grants in 1989, the Clare Boothe Luce Program has supported more than 2,500 women.