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$60,000 grant will support women science faculty at Appalachian

BOONE—Women faculty often choose to work at smaller universities which are considered family friendly and provide a better balance between academic and family life.

However, these faculty members may have heavier teaching loads, receive smaller salaries, have less access to internal funding for professional travel and early-career research and have limited opportunities for networking and mentoring by other female faculty members.

Appalachian State University has received a two-year, $60,000 New Scholars grant from The Elsevier Foundation for its Appalachian Women Scientists program. The grant is designed to help early- to mid-career women scientists balance family responsibilities with demanding academic careers and address the attrition rate of talented women scientists.

“This grant will enable Appalachian to produce a professional development series to support our female faculty members as they develop research agendas and learn strategies for balancing family responsibilities with their academic careers,” said Dr. Edelma Huntley, dean of research and graduate studies.

Through the grant, funds for travel and child care will enable women scientists at Appalachian to participate in professional development activities essential to their research careers.

“Support for professional travel and dependent care expenses is critical to many young scientists, enabling them to engage in activities essential to their research careers regardless of their family obligations. Attending and presenting research at conferences is crucial for their professional development and will help Appalachian retain these talented individuals,” Huntley said.

The Appalachian Women Scientists (AWS) Mentor Council, consisting of senior women faculty, department chairs, deans and academic administrators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (known as STEM), will guide development of the initiative. This includes reviewing grant proposal requests, disseminating information about the initiative, and serving as liaisons to Appalachian, the University of North Carolina General Administration (the 17-campus system office), and external organizations. In addition, mentoring will be provided to AWS participants by other women scientists in the 17-campus University of North Carolina system through the UNC system’s e-mentoring web service.

“The informational and social support that will be available to these faculty members through workshops, web sites and mentoring will further help them balance work-life issues and connect with other local and university resources for professional women and parents,” Huntley said.

In addition, Appalachian will use a portion of the award to provide seed grants of up to $3,000 each to encourage inter-institutional research collaborations between early- and mid-career women scientists at Appalachian and other institutions in the region.

“The Elsevier Foundation supports projects for their potential to serve as a model with lasting impact on our health and science communities,” said David Ruth, executive director of the Elsevier Foundation and senior vice president of global communications for Elsevier, a global provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services.

About the Elsevier Foundation

The Elsevier Foundation is a corporate charity funded by Elsevier, a global provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The Elsevier Foundation provides grants to knowledge centered institutions around the world, with a focus on developing world libraries, nurse faculty and scholars in the early stages of their careers. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than 60 grants worth millions of dollars to non-profit organizations working in these fields.