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 at Buffalo of the State University of New York System received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study why steep gender disparities still persist in engineering disciplines. Despite 20 years of investment, women make up only 20 percent of engineering students and tenure-track faculty. The grant is under the direction of Matilde Sánchez-Peña, an assistant professor of engineering education at the university. Dr. Sánchez-Peña and her research team will use data from 15 Research I institutions that have received NSF ADVANCE grants (a program to increase women in academic science and engineering careers) and 15 comparable institutions that have not. Dr. Sánchez-Peña hopes to find ways to improve the effectiveness of policies promoting inclusivity, including but not limited to gender.

The Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University, both in Atlanta, are sharing a seven-year grant from the National Institutes of Health. The two institutions will join forces to create the Maternal Health Research Center. This comes after data ranked Georgia as one of the top worst states for maternal mortality for all races, according to the American Medical Association. Maternal death rates for women of almost all races in Georgia have significantly increased, based on statistics from 1999 through 2019, with an increase of 135 percent for White mothers, 105 percent for Hispanic mothers, 93 percent for Black mothers, and 83 percent for Asian and Pacific Islander mothers.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst received a two-year, $405,000 grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to conduct research on how women’s breast tissue is affected by exposure to so-called “forever chemicals.” Polyfluoroalkyl substances, more widely known as PFAS chemicals, do not break down naturally. The chemicals are found in waterproof cosmetics, stain-resistant fabrics, and non-stick cookware. “Our overall goal is to understand if PFAS contribute to breast cancer development,” said Katherine Reeves, a professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts.




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