BREAKING THE POLYCARBONATE CEILING

By Chanapa Tantibanchachai

On Oct. 15, 2015, U assistant chemistry professor Luisa Whittaker-Brooks received one of four Marion Milligan Mason Awards for Women in the Chemical Sciences from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

The Marion Milligan Mason Fund provides grants of $50,000 every other year to women researchers engaged in basic research in the chemical sciences.

Whittaker-Brooks’ project, “Environmentally-friendly and easily process able polymer-metal chalcogenides for thermoelectrics” was selected out of 190 proposals from 123 colleges and universities across the nation. In addition to research funding, the award provides leadership development and mentoring opportunities.

According to the NIH, women scientists and researchers represent only 30 percent of principal investigators on research grants. AAAS president Geraldine Richmond called the difficulty in advancing at the same pace as men “the polycarbonate ceiling.”

“I am delighted that such an award exists to celebrate women chemists at the early career stage. These women represent the extraordinary talent and creativity of our young women in chemistry in the U.S. and around the globe,” said Richmond.

 

Chanapa Tantibanchachai is an associate science writer at University Marketing and Communications. If you have an interesting story idea, email her at chanapa.t@utah.edu.