TU launches scholars program to boost women in STEM

By Megan Bradshaw on April 14, 2019

The scholarship program will support the success of women in STEM majors and careers

Ancelmo Lopes and Barbara Hill
Ancelmo Lopes and Barbara Hill

Through a generous gift by Barbara Hill and Ancelmo Lopes, Towson University’s Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics is launching the Hill–Lopes Scholars Program. 

“We feel passionately that we don’t have enough scientists in the world. We are both convinced without more scientists we’re heading into deep trouble. We need to figure out how to make science welcoming and exciting,” says Hill.

Students selected as Hill–Lopes scholars will develop and sharpen their academic and professional skills through a combination of coursework, research experiences, seminars and one-to-one mentorship.   

“Working with Towson University has been really exciting for us. We came with an idea; we met with bright, motivated and excited people who wanted to work with us. It was a really welcoming, positive experience coming to Towson University with an idea,” Hill says.

Through outstanding and experienced faculty, operating in a research-intensive environment, FCSM students participate in 1,200 undergraduate research experiences annually. The college has seen a significant growth in enrollment in recent years. In return, TU is investing $180M in a new science complex, set to open in 2020.

“This visionary and generous gift will further distinguish and position Towson University as a center of excellence where students wishing to pursue careers and studies in STEM fields can thrive with mentorship from our world-class faculty and a state-of-the-art, new science complex,” TU President Kim Schatzel says.

Faculty program directors Peko Tsuji, Cindy Ghent and Beth Kautzman were excited about developing the program and working with Hill and Lopes to refine it, providing the structure and support students need to succeed in science and mathematics.

“Women continue to be underrepresented in several STEM fields,” notes Tsuji. “This program will contribute to the retention and advancement of women in the STEM workforce.”

After a preliminary year to become acquainted with and apply to the program, the Hill–Lopes Scholars will, in cohorts of 10 each year, engage in the programming for up to three years. They will receive a stipend each eligible semester as well as financial support to attend professional scientific meetings and to participate in career-building conferences, workshops and field trips. 

They will also be able to take advantage of existing TU communities and programming, like the Career Center, STEM student clubs, STEM faculty research mentors and the Women in Science Forum.

Fisher College has long stood as a leader in promoting women and minority student success in STEM, with programs like the STEM Residential Learning Community, the Bridges programs, the TU Research Enhancement Program (TU REP), pre-service science teacher education, the Women in Science program and Towson Opportunities in STEM (TOPS).

Mentorship is at the center of TU’s mission; faculty embrace the opportunity to advise students on academic and pre-professional paths.

“Students will be introduced to peer and professional mentoring networks, as well as research opportunities,” says Kautzman. 

Ghent agrees, saying, “The Hill–Lopes Scholars Program will challenge participants to develop their scientific knowledge and skill sets as well as professional skills and portfolios and emerge as fully prepared, distinguished graduates well positioned to pursue STEM careers or graduate studies.”

Hill and Lopes have a clear vision of their hopes for the scholars.

I’ll be so excited to see women graduating with degrees in areas of science where they’re going into interesting jobs or post-graduate programs,” Hill says. “Just knowing that we’re helping to fill that gaping need the country has with talented women. I think some people with their giving focus it so narrowly, wanting to find that person who’s going to cure cancer.”

The way Hill and Lopes see it, the labs researching cancer hire a lot of people. And, Hill notes, if the Hill–Lopes Scholars Program produces graduates who can be part of these research teams, “we’ve done something terrific.

Interested in learning more?

For more information about the Hill-Lopes Scholars program, please complete our request information form

 

This story is related to several of President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University.