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.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a $570,697 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund a project aimed to increase interest in computer science among middle school girls in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The program is led by College of Education professor Florence Sullivan and Elms College associate professor of computer science Beryl Hoffman. Participating girls will work with co-robots (machines that help humans accomplish tasks) in a simulated relief response to a natural disaster. Professor Sullivan stated “We know that girls are socialized to be interested in helping professions. By focusing on innovations that help people we can potentially attract more girls into computer science and robotics.” Some 40 to 60 girls will begin the program in winter or spring 2020 and participate in a following summer program that will run for two years. Boys will be introduced to the program in the second year to allow researchers to examine how their presence impacts the girls’ experience.

The David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles has received a $10 million gift from philanthropist Iris Cantor to advance the school’s work in educating the next generation of clinicians and scientists in women’s health care. The new funds will provide $8 million to support training and education in women’s health care at the medical school. The remaining $2 million will fund the Iris Cantor Endowed Chair in Women’s Health, which will be an administrative chair to be held by the director of the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center, currently Dr. Janet Pregler. “This gift is an indelible and lasting tribute to my commitment to healthcare, and in this instance, women’s healthcare training, discovery and healing,” Cantor said. “It will provide inspiration for researchers and clinicians, as well as hope and healing for women globally.”

John V. Cox, an associate professor and associate dean in the College of Graduate Health Sciences at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis,has received a $600,000 grant from the National Science Fund to support his research on chlamydia and how it affects a woman’s health. Women that are infected with chlamydia are at risk for serious reproductive health problems. About 10 percent of women infected with the disease are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t know they are infected, but can still go on to develop reproductive problems. Dr. Cox stated that “The goal of the research that is funded by this NSF grant is to define mechanisms that regulate the novel cell division process of chlamydia. Once we understand these processes, we may be able to develop specific therapies to eliminate chlamydia genital tract infections and avoid the unwanted consequences of broad-spectrum antibiotic therapies.”


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