Clare Boothe Luce Scholarships for Women in the Physical Sciences

The College of the Holy Cross has recently received another major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to promote women undergraduates to major in the physical sciences, including mathematics, computer science, physics, and chemistry. This marks the second grant from this foundation; the first offered scholarships to women in the classes of 2010 through 2014.

For three consecutive years, beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, the Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship will be awarded to two women majoring in the physical sciences who are entering their fourth year of study at the College. The scholarship will be cover tuition and fees. In addition, the College will support Luce Scholars with paid research fellowships during the summer prior to the start of their senior year.

Scholarship Qualifications 

Scholars must be declared majors in mathematics, computer science, physics, or chemistry. All candidates must be citizens of the United States.

Selection Process

1. In January, a committee will be appointed by Father Boroughs, comprised of the Chairs of the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science, Physics, and Chemistry, the College Science Coordinator, and the Dean of the College. The committee will solicit nominations of promising women undergraduates for this scholarship.

2. The faculty members of these departments will examine transcripts of their third year women majors. In addition to GPA, students will be evaluated in terms of research experience, desire to pursue and potential to succeed in a career in physical science, and evidence of leadership and engagement with the community. Each Department may recommend up to four nominees to the committee.

3. The committee will review application materials and invite the five best candidates for an interview. Invitations for an application will be made in early March.

Application Materials

1. Nominees will prepare a one to two page letter of personal interest describing their interest in their discipline and their future goals.

2. Letters of recommendation must be submitted from at least three science faculty members, one of who is identified as a research mentor for the student applicant. The research mentor must include a plan for professional development of the student while at Holy Cross.

3. If invited for an interview, the student applicant should prepare a ten-minute presentation, followed by a ten-minute session for questions from the committee members.

4. Final decisions regarding the Luce Scholarships will be made in April.

Clare Boothe Luce Scholar Responsibilities

Students who accept the Clare Boothe Luce scholarship will participate in research during the tenure of their scholarship. The research findings of the summer will be highlighted at the annual summer research symposium in September. Their year-long research project will be featured in an oral presentation held during the Academic Conference in April, and a written thesis will be submitted to their faculty mentor, the College Science Coordinator, and the Dean of the College in May.

Clare Boothe Luce Scholars will also serve in several mentoring capacities, including tutoring in their home department's tutoring workshop. Scholars will also make presentations highlighting their presence to introductory courses in mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Scholars will also be paired with students from our FRAP - First Year Research Advancement Program - science students who are from underrepresented or first generation college students.

Clare Boothe Luce Scholarships - 2016 to 2019

Holy Cross Receives Funding to Renew Competitive Grant for Women in the Sciences

2018 - 2019: Abby Corrigan (physics and economics) and Sarah McGuire (math and computer science)

Abby Corrigan '19 is an accomplished student of the physical sciences with a passion for disseminating her interest to other female students. Abby’s mentoring of other female students is also a particular strength she will bring as a CBL Scholar. In her third year, Abby played a major role as a member of the student executive committee of the Second Annual Women in Science Day at Holy Cross. Abby has also accomplished a great deal in the lab as she built her own cosmic ray telescope from photomultiplier tubes, plastic scintillators, and readout electronics. Moreover, her superb mathematical skills make her a strong candidate for doing research in theoretical/computational physics such as would be found in atomic theory.

Sarah McGuire '19 has successfully merged different disciplines in a most compelling manner. In the summer preceding her third year of study at the College, Sarah worked on a project that applied topological data analysis on high-density (64 electrodes) electroencephalographic recordings of participants engaged in coordinated behaviors that are posited to underlie core social deficits seen in autism spectrum disorders. Sarah’s enterprising nature and ability to learn deeply in the fields of computer science, topological analysis, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience. Her prowess in mathematics and in computing programming skills facilitated this research and enabled her to learn about the underlying neuroscience concepts that frame the theoretical underpinnings of this work. Sarah is also very enthusiastic about promoting an interest in computer science among middle school aged girls and plans on developing a day filled with coding and fun activities for girls in the Worcester area.

2017 - 2018: Phallika Mon (chemistry) and Michelle Yu (math and environmental studies)

Phallika Mon '18 is already a veteran chemistry researcher. She arrived in Pr. Sarah Petty's lab in her very first year at the College and has served as a first rate research assistant every since. Phallika will be working with Pr. Petty on her research investigating the aggregation of mis-folding proteins associated with various neurodegenerative diseases.

Michelle Yu '18, a mathematics major and an environmental studies minor, has developed an abiding interest in interdisciplinary research aimed at protecting our environment. As stated in her personal statement, Michelle's aspiration is in "developing advanced mathematical and statistical tools [in] utilizing high-level computational techniques to address some of today's major environmental challenges. Michelle will be working with Pr. Eric Ruggieri on a project that will use Bayesian inference to detect the timing of major shifts in climate systems.

2016 - 2017: Kate Nicastri (chemistry) and Sarah Tymochko (math)

Kate Nicastri '17 is an energetic, vibrant, intelligent and accomplished student of organic chemistry. Members of the selection committee were impressed with her dedication to scientific discovery, her work ethic, and her enthusiasm for getting other students involved in the physical sciences. Under the guidance of Pr. Kevin Quinn, Kate will continue her research on the synthesis of bovidic acid, an anti-insecticidal natural product that is isolated from the skin and hair of the Gaur, a bovine native to Asia. 

Sarah Tymochko '17 is a math major with a minor in computer science. Members of the selection committee believed that Sarah would make an ideal CBL scholar. She is an accomplished mathematics major who has shown a particular affinity for field of topology, the area of research she has chosen for her senior research project. Sarah will be studying topological data analysis of vasculature in the retina, under the guidance of Pr. David Damiano.

Clare Boothe Luce Scholarships - 2010 to 2014

Full Stem Ahead: $400,000+ Grant Funds Luce Scholarships for Undergraduate Women in Science

2010 - 2011: Annie Cervin (math) and Lindsey Tonge (chemistry)

Annie Cervin ’11 is a data analyst at Boston Preparatory Charter Public School. She recently completed an Education Pioneers fellowship, a leadership program that places analytical professionals in an educational organization. Annie hopes to get an MA of education degree with a concentration in data analysis. 

Lindsey Tonge ’11 completed an MA degree in physical chemistry at Yale University. She is currently a teacher at the Noble and Greenough High School, in Dedham, MA, teaching ninth grade biology and tenth grade honor’s chemistry. In a recent communication, Lindsey stated, “the CBL scholarship was a great affirmation that women were welcomed and supported in the sciences. As a woman student in chemistry at Holy Cross, I never felt belittled or less important. All of my professors encouraged me and supported me in every way.” 

2011 - 2012: Katharine Chamberlin (math) and Kelly Gilmore (chemistry/math)

Katherine Chamberlin ’12 is currently an infrastructure account manager at Oracle, a promotion she recently received after being with the company since June 2012. 

Kelly Gilmore ’12 is pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Vanderbilt University. She recently stated, “the opportunities I was given as a result of this scholarship and the research experience I had while at Holy Cross was what ultimately influenced my decision to pursue a graduate education. I will forever be grateful to the CBL foundation for the wonderful opportunities it presented me with during my final year at Holy Cross, and for ultimately placing me on a path where I could develop my passion for scientific research.” 

2012 - 2013: Emma Colbert (math) and Stephanie Craig (chemistry)

Stephanie Craig ’13 is pursuing a Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Yale University. When asked about the learning environment at Holy Cross, she commented, “I think that HC was a hospitable place for me to pursue my degree. [It] is a welcoming place for all students independent of gender and what major they choose. Learning was the main focus at Holy Cross, and that was clear from the interactions I had with all the professors I met there. They all made it a welcoming and safe place to learn and grow.” 

Emma Colbert ’13 is completing a master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Connecticut. She will seek employment teaching mathematics in high school. Emma stated, “my teachers made the biggest difference. I want to show students that math is integral to our understanding of the sciences and they should continue to take math once they get to college because it only gets more interesting at the advanced level. I wouldn’t have thought so much about this career path if I hadn’t gotten the CBL scholarship. It’s made a huge impact on my life, and I’m so excited for the next move in my career.” 

2013 - 2014: Kaylie Gage (chemistry) and Kelsey Poremba (chemistry)

Kaylie Gage ’14 is pursuing a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Boston College. Kaylie offered, “the CBL scholarship greatly impacted how I viewed myself as a scholar at Holy Cross. It caused me to push myself even further and recognize that there were no closed doors to me in science. As a woman, it instilled confidence in me and in my graduate career, and has led me to always strive to be a mentor to women in the field.” 

Kelsey Poremba ’14 is completing her first year of study toward a Ph.D. in chemistry and chemical engineering at Caltech. More recently, Kelsey was the recipient of a pre-doctoral research grant from the National Science Foundation.