A professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is doing something inspiring to address the ongoing problem of far too few women in engineering and science. As part of a $590,000 three-year grant co-funded from the National Science Foundation and the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Shelly Peyton of the UMass Chemical Engineering Department has been running a five-week summer educational outreach program that has transformed the future career goals of two female students from Amherst Regional High School. Peyton’s program, entitled “Engineering the Cell: A Bioengineering Experience for Young Women,” exposed incoming high school juniors Maia Hamin and Christina Manson to a pioneering new method to stop breast cancer from spreading.

Undergraduate Emma Klinkhamer of the Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department dreamed up her ideal job and published it in the July 28 edition of Chemical & Engineering News: Her utopian job was included in a section called "Chemistry Students Describe Their Dream Jobs." Among other comments, she noted that “My education has taught me that the sky’s the limit when it comes to chemistry. It just takes creative thought and persistence to develop a material or mechanism. In my lab, I would strive to use the fundamentals of chemistry and cutting-edge engineering to create desirable products." Currently she works in the research laboratory of ChE faculty member Jessica Schiffman.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation has established an endowment fund to be known as the Armstrong/Siadat Endowed Professorship in Materials Science with a cash gift of $750,000 from John and Elizabeth Armstrong and a $750,000 pledge from Barry and Afsaneh Siadat. The endowed professorship will be awarded to a researcher in the area of materials science in the UMass Amherst chemical engineering department. Barry Siadat says, “The endowed professorship will attract an outstanding leader who will be a bit like a magnet, building a world-class program that will improve the quality of life.” John Armstrong says he hopes the professorship will be the center of a cluster of renowned scientists working to solve problems and create new materials.