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News Release 98-085

NSF Awards Career Development Grants to Women

December 10, 1998

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has honored 206 outstanding women nationwide this year with $13.7 million in awards through its Professional Opportunities for Women in Research and Education (POWRE) program.

These awards, one of NSF's investments in women scientists and engineers, promote the development of scholarly and institutional leaders in research and education in fields ranging from atomic physics to zoology.

NSF established POWRE in 1997 to help ensure the vitality, quality, distribution and effectiveness of the nation's human resource base in science and engineering, and to help overcome the under-representation of women in these fields. NSF's POWRE program supports efforts to facilitate the full participation of women in the science and engineering mainstream.

Awardees were selected from among 773 applicants. POWRE grants last between 12 and 18 months and range from $13,000 to $150,000 each.

"This year's grants exhibit a broad range of research and education projects," said POWRE program director Priscilla Nelson. This is especially true for fields in which women are underrepresented, she indicated.

By providing opportunities for career advancement, professional growth and increased stature of women in science and engineering, the POWRE program encourages women to pursue careers and achieve leadership positions in science and engineering. "At the same time, women scientists and engineers will obtain greater visibility and influence not only in academic institutions but in industry as well," said Nelson.

The POWRE program encompasses all areas of NSF-supported research and education in science and engineering and was developed to merge the previous targeted women's programs into one overall program. The programs incorporated into POWRE include the Career Advancement Award, Research Planning Grant, Faculty Award for Women, and Visiting Professorship for Women.


Editors: For a complete list of fiscal 1998 POWRE award recipients, including their institutions and their project descriptions, see:

Selected 1998 POWRE Awards by the National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded 206 outstanding women scientists and engineers with grants from its Professional Opportunities for Women in Research and Education (POWRE) program. The awards help in career development in research and education, leading to enhanced positions of leadership. Use the grant numbers below to find more details on the world-wide web at

  • Nancy Berner, University of the South
    Biological Sciences: grant #9805808

    Learning and Application of New Methods to the Study of Mitochondrial Heat Generating Mechanisms in Endothermic and Ectothermic Vertebrates

    The researcher's ongoing project compares cellular and subcellular heat generation in endothermic ("warm-blooded") and ectothermic ("cold-blooded") vertebrates. The POWRE award is allowing Berner to learn new laboratory methods to broaden the scope of the project already in progress, increasing the number of questions that can be investigated.

  • Amy Briggs, Middlebury College
    Computer & Information Science & Engineering: grant #9806108

    Geometric Algorithms for Landmark-based Mobile Robot Navigation

    This young researcher at a small liberal arts college will develop a research program in a promising new domain of robot navigation. The objective is to develop efficient new geometric algorithms that allow a robot to find its way in an unknown environment using visual landmarks. The long-term goals of the research include the development of task-level strategies for robot navigation in an environment without the aid of a global map.

  • Carol Dieckmann, Univ. of Arizona-Tucson
    (Univ. of Mass. Med. School-Worcester, 508-856-2443)
    Biological Sciences: grant #9806135

    Eyespot Assembly in Chlamydomonas

    Even some primitive single-celled organisms are complex enough to react to light. Yet little is known about the origin and function of the eyespot in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas. This organism is free-swimming and phototactic, using its eyespot to detect light. Dieckmann will research the light sensitivity and associated functional capabilities of this organism.

  • Diane Dutkevitch, Northwestern University
    Education and Human Resources: grant #9806304

    The Web as a Laboratory: Hands-On Astronomy in Large Lecture Courses

    This project aims to incorporate rigorous, but fun, hands-on experience into introductory science courses for non-science majors. Labs using the world-wide web and custom software will present interactive astronomical images, allowing students to magnify and process the pictures, make measurements and learn how professional astronomers tackle critical questions. The labs will encourage exploration and creative thinking and allow students to discover for themselves the strengths and limitations of a variety of telescopes and instruments.

  • Robin Garrell, Univ. of California-Los Angeles
    Mathematical and Physical Sciences: grant #9806151

    Novel Inorganic Self-Assembled Monolayers: Boranes and Gold

    The research aims to design and fabricate new types of inorganic self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on noble metal and oxide surfaces. This work could ultimately benefit the manufacture of electronics, sensors and ultrathin coatings for use in harsh environments.

  • Morton Gernsbacher, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison
    Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences: grant #9806076

    Testing the Structure Building Framework Using Functional Imaging

    The investigator will incorporate functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) into behavioral studies, in order to further explore the cognitive processes and mechanisms underlying language comprehension. Training skilled behavioral-cognitive-psychological researchers to use more complex, neuro-imaging techniques will allow the field to answer more complex questions about brain activities that govern language.

  • Andrea Koziol, University of Dayton, Ohio
    Geosciences: grant #9805873

    Experimental Studies of Fe-Mg Carbonates and Their Role in Petrogenesis

    This research will help geologists understand the conditions of formation of a number of unusual and interesting rocks. The objectives are to determine how the minerals siderite (FeCO3) and magnesite (MgCO3) act and react under a variety of conditions of high pressure and temperature. These studies will provide tight constraints on how CO2 fluid behaves deep in the earth and provide information on oxidation state of the mantle and a better understanding of diamond formation.

  • Jennifer Miller, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    Engineering: grant #9870435

    Combined Corrosion Assessment Techniques for Evaluating the Effect of Free Chlorine on Aged Cast Iron Water Distribution System Pipes

    To make water safer to drink, disinfectants such as free chlorine are routinely added to drinking water. But free chlorine can greatly increase corrosion of pipes. This project will use traditional and newer corrosion assessment techniques to study iron corrosion and allow the researcher to learn the use of analytical techniques not traditionally applied to the study of pipe corrosion.

Media Contacts
K. Lee Herring, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

Program Contacts
Priscilla P. Nelson, NSF, (703) 292-8000, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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