Thanks to a generous Henry Luce Foundation grant from their prestigious Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Program for Women in STEM, Stonehill will award undergraduate scholarships to two female STEM students.

Totaling $199,176, the grant will fund four scholarships to two female students entering their junior years with declared majors in computer science, mathematics, chemistry and physics, or who are in Stonehill’s 3+2 dual degree engineering programs or the College’s new four-year engineering degree program. Stonehill will contribute institutional and scholarship aid to achieve full scholarships, which will first be awarded in the 2022-2023 Academic Year and will be renewable in the 2023-2024 Academic Year, provided the students continue to meet the scholarship award criteria.

“Support from the Clare Boothe Luce program—when combined with exciting new areas of study, such as data science, engineering, and integrated photonics—deepens our institutional commitment to recruiting and retaining STEM students and propels forward Stonehill’s ability to attract more women in STEM to our campus,” notes Professor Ralph Bravaco, founder of the College’s Computer Science Program. “On behalf of all of us at Stonehill who developed the grant proposal and are engaged in STEM initiatives, I express our gratitude to the Clare Boothe Luce Program for their longstanding support and collaboration.”

Under Bravaco’s leadership and guidance, this is the third time that Stonehill has received a CBL grant—in 2002, the College was awarded a $101,244 grant and in 2013, a $300,000 grant. To date, seven CBL scholars have graduated from Stonehill.

“Our CBL scholars have had a competitive edge when applying for prominent internships or to rigorous undergraduate research programs,” notes Bravaco, who chairs the Computer Science Department and is co-director of the Data Science Program. “They have then gone on to achieve success as software engineers, data engineers, geoscientists, and professors.”

The scholarships will be awarded through a dedicated scholarship application process, which is overseen by Bravaco in collaboration with Student Financial Assistance. For engineering scholars with a declared 3+2 engineering program major, consideration will be given to female applicants entering their sophomore year with the ability to renew in their junior/final year at Stonehill. Additional consideration will be given to rising juniors, with a declared engineering major, in Stonehill’s new four-year engineering program.

“The future of STEM education at Stonehill is bright with engineering a significant focus of our strategic plan in the coming years,” says Bravaco. “With a new engineering program, students have the option of the five-year dual degree programs with The University of Notre Dame or with King’s College as well as the four-year program at Stonehill. These efforts are buoyed by new computer science and state-of-the-art photonics labs.”

The CBL Program for Women in STEM is a competitive program of the Henry Luce Foundation that funds scholarships, professorships, and research for women in underrepresented STEM fields. Since its first grants in 1989, the CBL Program has become one of the single largest private sources of funding for women in STEM in higher education. Clare Boothe Luce, the widow of Henry R. Luce, who founded Time magazine, was a playwright, journalist, U.S. Ambassador to Italy, and the first woman elected to Congress from Connecticut. In her bequest establishing the program, she sought “to encourage women to enter, study, graduate, and teach” in the science, mathematics, and engineering fields, where they have been underrepresented.

A team of contributors and campus partners worked together to develop the CBL grant proposal. “I would especially like to thank Marie Kelly, director of corporate, foundation & donor relations, and all of the faculty members from across disciplines and administrators from several offices for their effort and collaboration,” says Bravaco. “We worked as a team to develop a strong and convincing proposal that would be well-received.”

According to Provost DeBrenna LaFa Agbényiga, “This support from the Clare Boothe Luce Program will be combined with exciting new areas of study at Stonehill that attract a more diverse population of students and faculty along with institutional programs and efforts designed to mentor and empower underrepresented students in STEM fields.”