IFAS News

University of Florida

UF researcher wins national L’Oreal Fellowship

Topic(s): IFAS, Soil and Water Science

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researcher Julie Meyer is definitely worth it, especially to L’Oreal USA. Meyer is one of five recipients of the L’Oréal USA 2015 For Women in Science Fellowship, which honors female scientists at critical stages of their career with $60,000 fellowships to advance their postdoctoral research.

Meyer is a postdoctoral scientist in marine microbiology in the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Her research focuses on the role of microbial interactions in the health and stability of coral reefs, and is performed in collaboration with the Smithsonian Marine Station.

Meyer is researching how shifts in coral microbiota are associated with Black Band Disease, a disease that kills healthy tissue in many different species of reef-building corals. The L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship will support the further development of Meyer’s research, including the sequencing of whole genomes.

“As shown by this year’s For Women in Science fellows, the contributions of women in STEM are exceptional, yet too often go unnoticed,” said Frédéric Rozé, President and CEO of L’Oréal USA. “As the global leader in beauty, L’Oréal’s pioneering legacy of innovation is built upon our scientific workforce – which is made up of more than 70 percent women – and we are proud to recognize the achievements of these fellows through our ongoing support of women in science.”

“Dr. Meyer is an outstanding marine microbial ecologist who utilizes a genomics approach to find solutions to a significant problem in coral reefs,” said Dr. Jackie Burns, UF/IFAS dean for research and director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. “This award recognizes her leadership as a female scientist. She is very deserving of this Fellowship.”

Celebrating its 12th year in the U.S., the L’Oréal For Women in Science program has awarded 60 postdoctoral women scientists nearly $3 million in grants. The announcement is being made on Oct. 13 in conjunction with Ada Lovelace Day – an annual event aimed at raising the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

 

Building on her strong commitment to mentoring, Meyer will also use the fellowship to produce a short documentary film highlighting the work of women in coral reef research.  The documentary will be shared online and presented to girls in the Gainesville area as part of Meyer’s effort to expose themto the diversity of scientific careers.

Meyer received a Ph.D. in Marine Biosciences at the University of Delaware, an M.S. in Biology from West Chester University, a B.S. in Biology from Salisbury University and a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Sciences at University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science program is a global program that recognizes and rewards women scientists around the world. Specifically, the program supports women researchers at different stages of their careers and encourages more young women to pursue STEM in a field where women remain underrepresented.  Since the worldwide program began in 1998, more than 2,250 scientists in over 110 countries have been awarded for their work.

The U.S. fellowship program includes a requirement focused on ensuring the fellows have a commitment to serve as role models for younger generations. The 2015 fellowship candidates were evaluated based on their intellectual merit, research potential, scientific excellence and their commitment to supporting women and girls in science. Applications were reviewed by experienced scientists in the candidates’ respective fields through a partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), who manages the application process.

The fellows will have the opportunity to engage with leaders from the broader STEM community the week of October 19th through visits to the White House to meet with female scientists from within the Executive Branch and Capitol Hill for a discussion with Congressional leaders about policy issues impacting women in STEM. The fellows will also participate in a mentoring session with female middle and high school students at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington’s Richard England Clubhouse in NE Washington, D.C. and tour L’Oréal’s Research and Innovation labs in Clark, New Jersey.

The activities will culminate with an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, Oct. 22, where the fellows will be honored in front of elected officials, policymakers, leaders in STEM and representatives from across the scientific community.

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By: Beverly James, 352-273-3566, beverlymjames@ufl.edu

 

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