July 2002
The Knowledge Gap In Women's Health

Creating New Chemiluminescent Tools

Assessing Environmental Health Risks

Tackling Environmental Challenges

Cultivating Success in Mathematics

Summer Institutes for Philadelphia Teachers

S&T Briefs

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Please send us your comments on this issue, ideas for future issues, and news about your professional interests and accomplishments.

Al Dorof, Editor

© 2003


Bryn Mawr College
A quarterly newsletter on research, teaching, management, policy making and leadership in Science and Technology

S&T Briefs

Hall of Fame I

Elaine Surick Oran ’66, senior scientist for reactive flow physics at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C., was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame on June 20. Oran was recognized by WITI as an engineering pioneer who uses computer numerical simulations to make fundamental advances in our understanding of combustion and propulsion, atmospheric physics, solar physics and astrophysics. At NRL, she leads a team that has invented and applied many of the algorithms and computer methodologies for accurately simulating reactive flows. Oran’s current work focuses on simulating microfluids — the dynamics of flows in micro- and nanodevices — the physics of detonations and supernovae, and high-performance computing and parallel architectures.

The WITI Hall of Fame was established in 1996 to recognize and honor women who make outstanding contributions to science and technology. With the 2002 inductees, the Hall of Fame includes 45 distinguished women.

A chemistry and physics major at Bryn Mawr, Oran went on to earn her master’s (1968) and Ph.D. (1972) degrees in physics at Yale University. She has authored more than 300 research publications and is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the American Physical Society. Oran is a past recipient of the Arthur S. Fleming Award, the WISE Award in Science, the Oppenheim Prize and the Zeldovich Gold Medal of the Combustion Institute.

Hall of Fame II

Julia Ward ’23, Ph.D. ’40 was inducted into the National Security Agency’s Cryptologic Hall of Honor at the National Cryptologic Museum in Baltimore on June 13. NSA’s Hall of Honor was created in 1999 to "pay special tribute to the pioneers and heroes who rendered distinguished service to American cryptology."

Ward was one of six people honored at the ceremony for outstanding contributions to American codebreaking during World War II and the years immediately following it. The College received a copy of the plaque commemorating the achievements of Ward, "who set reporting standards and used early information-management techniques to support cryptology."

Ward began working for the College in 1923 and held a variety of deanships; she earned her Ph.D. in history in 1940. She joined the Signal Security Agency, the U.S. Army’s cryptologic organization, in 1942, as a librarian in the agency’s reference section. By 1945 Ward was chief of the reference section. According to the statement prepared by the museum, Ward transformed the section from a poorly organized unit of limited scope into a "highly respected organization to which other federal agencies came for information." She was one of the highest-ranking female officers of the NSA until her death in 1962.

Institute Director

Judith H. Greenberg , Ph.D. ’72, became acting director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Bethesda, Md., on May 3. She previously directed the NIGMS Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology, with a budget of $428 million in fiscal year 2001.

NIGMS is one of the National Institutes of Health, the principal biomedical research agency of the federal government, and has a budget of $1.5 billion. It supports research and research training in the basic biomedical sciences with the goal of increasing our understanding of fundamental life processes to help lay the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

"NIGMS has recently embarked on a number of exciting new initiatives, including structural genomics, pharmacogenetics, integrative and collaborative approaches to research, and complex biological systems," Greenberg said. "I am committed to seeing these and our other activities continue to flourish, and I am fortunate to have the help of the institute’s talented and exceptional staff."

Greenberg is a member of the American Society of Human Genetics and the Society for Developmental Biology. Her career and research were profiled in the January 2002 issue of Bryn Mawr S&T.

Scientist Named Provost

Ralph Kuncl joined Bryn Mawr as provost on June 1. He previously was vice provost for undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins University, and professor of neurology and pathology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he specialized in neuromuscular disease, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and myasthenia gravis. Kuncl received the 2002 Distinguished Service Medal from the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. (1975) and M.D. (1977) degrees, for his seminal discoveries on the role of glutamate in ALS and the development of experimental drugs for ALS.

During the 2000-01 academic year, Kuncl was an American Council on Education fellow at Bryn Mawr, where he completed a study on the success of women’s colleges in producing future Ph.D. scientists, mathematicians and engineers. He also assisted Nancy J. Vickers, president of the College, on Bryn Mawr’s Plan for a New Century.

"Dr. Kuncl has an impressive academic background and a distinguished record of accomplishments," Vickers says. "He understands the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and opportunities for faculty renewal in sustaining the intellectual life of a college community like ours. He will bring a fresh perspective to the role of chief academic officer."

EDGE Expands

Rhonda J. Hughes, Helen Herrmann Professor of Mathematics, received a $187,000 ADVANCE Leadership Award from the National Science Foundation to expand EDGE — Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education. Hughes launched EDGE in 1998 with Sylvia T. Bozeman of Spelman College to help women succeed in graduate-school mathematics programs through a variety of mentorship and academic support initiatives. The new award will continue the work of Bryn Mawr College to promote the next generation of women in the mathematical sciences by building on Hughes’ success in developing and implementing effective strategies to achieve this goal.

"We will use the ADVANCE Leadership Award to identify ways to advance women graduate students inmathematics into leadership positions in science, engineering and mathematics," Hughes says. "We will help them connect to a network of more senior women who can give them critical information and support as they start a career."

The EDGE expansion plan includes four components: a publication program to broadly disseminate information about successful strategies for increasing the retention of women in graduate mathematics programs; a capacity-building initiative that will establish a three-tiered mentoring program; a 2003 symposium to provide a forum and workshops on successful institutional and individual paradigms for retention and advancement of women in mathematics; and support for Hughes’ research on functional analysis and operator theory, with increased involvement of undergraduate and graduate students in her research.

For more information, visit the EDGE program Web site at http://www.brynmawr.edu /Acads/Math/edge/edge.html and see the April 2001 issue of Bryn Mawr S&T.

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