L’Oréal, a brand known worldwide for its makeup, hair and skin care products, is helping female scientists across the country advance their postdoctoral research, including one postdoctoral fellow in biology here at the University of Nevada, Reno, Felicity Muth.
On Tuesday, Oct. 10, L’Oréal USA announced the five recipients of the 2017 For Women in Science Fellowship, a grant which awards $60,000 to female scientists. This is the fellowship program’s 14th year, and since its inception in 1998, has awarded 70 postdoctoral women scientists over $3.5 million in grants.
The fellowship is a part of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards program. Recognizing and rewarding women scientists around the world, L’Oréal-UNESCO highlights the contributions of females to the advancement of science, technology engineering and mathematics, or STEM fields, where women still remain underrepresented.
“The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship was transformative in my research career and life,” said Dr. Pardis Sabeti, 2004 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellow and professor at Harvard University and the Broad Institute. “The funding supported a study that led me to investigate deadly viruses circulating in Africa, and laid the groundwork for my lab’s efforts during the Ebola epidemic. The focus of the fellowship and the generous support of L’Oréal also drove me to try to make an impact in the world.”
UNR’s Felicity Muth is now joining the ranks of high-achieving fellows that have been distinguished by L’Oréal. Muth, who received her Ph.D. in biology from the University of St. Andrews and a degree in zoology from the University of Edinburgh, was born and raised in London, England. She now resides in Reno.
Muth’s research focuses on animal behavior and cognition, which is the study of how animals think, learn, and make decisions. With the $60,000 grant, Muth will hire a female research assistant and purchase key equipment, increasing the amount of research she is able to do. Felicity says she is passionate about being a mentor for women and girls in STEM fields, saying she herself benefited from having a female mentor.
In her most recent work, Muth has been conducting research to understand how commonly-used pesticides—neonicotinoids—are affecting bumblebees’ foraging and pollination behavior. Since bees are major pollinators of both wildflowers and crops, this question has implications for natural ecosystems and human food security, and for Muth, who has a love of the outdoors, her research is that much more important.
In the past, Muth has collaborated with the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada and Nevada Bugs and Butterflies and plans to use some of her fellowship funding to organize outreach activities with these programs for young girls throughout the community.
Along with Muth, four other fellows are being awarded including Kellie Ann Jurado, a postdoctoral scientist in immunobiology at Yale University, Ritu Raman, a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical and biomedical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sydney Schreppler, a postdoctoral fellow in physics at University of California, Berkeley and Molly Schumer, a postdoctoral fellow in genetics and evolutionary biology at Harvard Medical School.
On Thursday, Nov. 9, L’Oréal USA will be hosting an awards ceremony for the fellows emceed by CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. There, Muth and the other fellows will have the opportunity to meet L’Oréal and other STEM leaders throughout the greater New York and Washington, D.C. communities.
“L’Oréal has a legacy of innovation that would not have been possible without the women who make up the majority of our scientific workforce. Today, more than ever, we are proud to support our country’s most accomplished women scientists at a key moment in their careers, and to empower them to continue their groundbreaking work,” said Frédéric Rozé the President and CEO of L’Oréal USA.
Emily Fisher can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.