BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Celebrating women in science is yet another way that the Field Museum Women’s Board stands out as one of the strongest philanthropic and innovative boards in town.
Observing its 50-year anniversary in 2016, the Women’s Board has hosted over 100 fundraising and friend-raising events, and none is more meaningful to them than their annual Women in Science Program and Luncheon held recently at the museum.
Over $220,000 was raised in support of science internships and fellowships for young women at the Field Museum.
Illene Gordon, Chairman, President, and CEO of Ingredion, highlighted the mission of the day for the 400 young scientists and corporate, civic, and philanthropic guests before the luncheon served in the iconic great hall of the museum. Ms. Gordon spoke on her background with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in a moderated conversation with Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin.
One of the world’s leading natural history museums, the Field is at the forefront in creating opportunities for women in science and STEM, offering learning activities, networking events, and one-on-one mentoring for aspiring scientists for over 1000 young women each year.
Women’s Board President, Susan McBride, is a strong advocate for the initiatives:
“The Women’s Board started the Women in Science program 17 years ago. We recognized that young female scientists need support. We empathized with these young talents, often as a result of our own experiences, and got serious about creating internships and fellowships at the Field Museum.
“What began with one graduate-level fellowship is today a program that also supports 10 paid summer internships each year for high school and undergraduate women. Thanks to financial support from the community, this number continues to increase. We are on a fabulous trajectory that benefits all. It is a thrill.”
The opportunity to serve as the luncheon’s co-chair was a great source of pride for Women’s Board member Donna Greenberg:
“The enthusiasm from the predominately female audience, including 50 high school students, was energizing and motivating. Women can and should have meaningful careers in science. Deanne and I were honored to chair the event.”
Co-chair Deanne McLean summed up the meaning of the moment:
“At the end of the day, the real reward was the wonderful group of young high school girls sitting in the front of the theater. Their smiles and applause said it all. They truly are the bright stars of tomorrow.”
Photo credit: Kyle Flubacker