Grants or Gifts Relating to Women in Higher Education

Here is this week’s news of grants and gifts that may be of particular interest to women in higher education.

Mike and Cheryl Ducker have established the Phyllis Shane Ole Miss Women’s Council Scholarship Endowment at the University of Mississippi with a gift of $125,000. The endowment honors Cheryl’s mother, Phyllis Shane, who valued education and the empowerment of women. Shane met her husband while attending the University of Tennessee Nursing School and put her education on hold for him. She eventually returned to school completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Gulf Coast Community College at the age of 60. The Duckers were happy to give their gift to the Ole Miss Women’s Council which is a group of women leaders and philanthropists who are committed to nurturing the development of students with a desire to contribute to a caring, more ethical world.

New research from Washington University has linked certain DNA mutations to a high risk of relapse in estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. These findings could help predict which patients are most likely to relapse and help guide treatment decisions. The study was funded by a Susan G. Komen Promise grant, a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Recruitment of Established Investigators award, the McNair Medical Institute, the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, and the National Cancer Institute. Lead investigator Obi L. Griffith stated “if a patient’s tumor has mutations linked to high risk of relapse, it’s useful to know that early so they can be treated with more aggressive therapies or even potential investigational therapies that could be targeted to their specific mutations.”

Texas A&M University has received a gift from alumna Lynn Hagan to establish the endowment for the Women’s Resource Center. The gift will provide funds for a variety of programs such as Elect Her: Aggie Women Win, Salary Negotiation Workshops, and the American Association of University Women at Texas A&M. “This gift is about fostering a supportive environment for all Texas A&M students to engage in educational activities,” Dr. Hagan said. “We need to ensure gender parity among our top student leaders, and in business and government in the United States and across the world.” Dr. Hagan holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Texas A&M University, two master’s degrees in recreation and social work from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Southern California.

An interdisciplinary team at the University of Hawaii Manoa has received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to evaluate a new approach to improving engagement, diversity, and retention in undergraduate computer science education. The new program is called RadGrad and it provides an alternative perspective to the computer science degree experience. With the RadGrad program, GPA is not used a metric for success and instead students are measured based on innovation, competency, and experience. This includes extracurricular activities as well as coursework. The researchers hope to increase participation of women and minorities in STEM through this program.

Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio, has received a $250,000 gift from alumna Kathrine A. Allen to fund the college’s new Women’s Center. The center opened on August 20th and aims to provide both academic and practical support to students at Ursuline, 90 percent of whom are women. The center focuses on promoting women’s leadership through workshops, events, and student assistance. Allen earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Ursuline in 1955. She also holds a master of library science degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and a juris doctorate from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law.

Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo has announced that $3 million in grant funding will be given to various higher education institutions across the state. The funds will support research on breast cancer causes, detection, screening, prevention, and treatments. Governor Cuomo stated “breast cancer affects thousands of people across this state and in order to provide New Yorkers with the best care, these investments will support the brilliant minds studying, teaching and researching at our colleges, universities and medical schools.” The following is a list of the grant awardees:

•    Albert Einstein College of Medicine, $360,000 and $326,910
•    Stony Brook University, $360,000
•    University at Buffalo, $359,024
•    Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, $360,000 and $268,599
•    Cornell University, $358,832
•    University at Albany, $335,905
•    Hunter College CUNY, $245,002


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