A Boost for Women Students through Clare Boothe Luce Funding
July 21, 2022
New cohort of students joins national program designed to support women in STEM fields.
For the third year in a row, select women students at Olin are conducting independent research funded by the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Program. Their innovations run the gamut from origami-inspired structures for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to novel desalination systems.
As the nation’s single largest private source of funding in higher education for women in science, mathematics, and engineering, the CBL Program provides support to women in STEM fields in which they are underrepresented. This is the second time Olin has received a grant from the CBL program.
“We have a strong relationship with the CBL Program in part because Olin has great gender diversity,” says Emily Tow, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering who leads the CBL Program at Olin. About half of the college’s student body identify as female; meanwhile, women make up only about 18 percent of the engineering workforce in the U.S.
“But when our women students graduate, many of them will begin working in male-dominated workplaces and labs,” continues Tow. “The CBL Program helps ensure that they build not only their research prowess, but also their confidence through a series of skill-building workshops in areas like public speaking and scholarly publishing.”
We have a strong relationship with the CBL Program in part because Olin has great gender diversity.
When our women students graduate, many of them will begin working in male-dominated workplaces and labs. The CBL Program helps ensure that they build not only their research prowess, but also their confidence through a series of skill-building workshops in areas like public speaking and scholarly publishing."
Through CBL funding, women students work full-time over the summer on research, travel to conferences or for field work, create professional connections and more.
“CBL gives you freedom in where you want to go,” says Lily Jiang ’25, who is working this summer with faculty advisor Paul Ruvolo on an iOS app designed to help people who are blind and visually impaired with makeup application.
“I had been building a makeup app with a friend last year, and I wanted to turn that into something beneficial for people who need extra resources in such a visual medium.”
Antoinette Tan ’24, who was in the 2021 cohort, says that being chosen for CBL funding meant the difference between being able to focus on research or having to get a job over the summer.
“One of my projects this summer was creating a link budget calculator that helps characterize the communication between two different systems, like a satellite in the sky and an antenna on the ground, to see if they will be able to work together,” says Tan. “We’re using it internally in the Olin Satellite + Spectrum Technology & Policy Group (OSSTP), as well as a proof of concept for companies to determine if their communications systems will function.”
An electrical and computer engineering major, Tan hopes to continue to graduate school after Olin—another area in which the CBL Program seeks to close the gender gap.
“Olin has prioritized gender diversity from the very beginning, and it makes a difference to students that when they’re here, they can be somewhat protected from the bias that exists in the larger world,” says Tow. “Olin is a beautiful environment where students of all genders can flourish, and initiatives like the CBL Program can help make that scenario a reality elsewhere, too.”
Congratulations to all of Olin’s recent CBL Scholars.
View CBL Scholars (2021, 2022) by clicking below
- Norah Evans
- Maeve Stites
- An Grocki
- KD Vo
- Audrey Abraham
- Lily Jiang
- Diana Garcia
- Ivonne Munoz
- Lauren Thorbecke
- Antoinette Tan
- Audrey Lee
- Berwin Lan
- Dianna Sims
- Esme Abbot
- Nicola van Moon
- Pranavi Boyalakuntla
- Riya Aggarwal
- Shamama Sirroon
- Shree Madan