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ARCS Foundation Supports the Cream of the Scientific Crop
How do you foster cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs? The ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation fervently believes that one way is to fund brilliant young students in science, engineering, and medical research.
This year, the ARCS Foundation Northern California Chapter (ARCS NCC) is providing fellowships to 11 Stanford students with awards ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. That brings the number of Stanford students they have supported over the past three decades to more than 300.
Take Mihalis Kariolis, a Stanford bioengineering doctoral candidate. A 2012 recipient of an ARCS fellowship, Kariolis is concluding significant research on a targeting agent that will inhibit a protein that drives the spread of cancers, including ovarian, brain, and pancreatic cancers.
"The ARCS NCC Fellowship has allowed me to study what I want without working and to complete my research in a timely way," says Kariolis, who will finish his dissertation in 2013, just three years after enrolling in the doctoral program.
Soon his work may be saving lives. The Stanford lab under which he is conducting the research, guided by Professor Jennifer Cochran, has already partnered with a biotechnology company to translate the research into clinical application.
"Thanks to ARCS, I've been able to move through things quickly and get the ball rolling," says the bioengineering student, who also holds a master's in this field from Stanford.
With only 15 percent of U.S. college students majoring in science or engineering, the ARCS Foundation sees its work funding young scientists as a powerful investment in America's future.
"We want to support student work that will help our country succeed for the betterment of mankind," says Elaine Oldham, ARCS NCC communications chair.
The ARCS Foundation was founded in 1958 by a group of intrepid women in Los Angeles who took on the challenge of the U.S.-Soviet "space race" by raising funds for promising science students. The Northern California Chapter was founded in 1970 and has raised almost $16 million for 2,270 scholars attending six universities in the region.
The 17 ARCS chapters now dotting the United States have raised a total of nearly $79 million for 13,650 scholar awards around the country. ARCS is still run by women, who garner contributions for student fellowships from individuals and corporations.
"Today the challenge is achieving breakthroughs particularly in biotechnology, regenerative medicine, and clean energy," says Oldham.
Other ARCS NCC fellows this year at Stanford are in the departments of applied physics, bioengineering, biology, chemistry, civil and environmental engineering, environmental earth systems science, engineering, materials science, and mathematics.
"These Stanford students are working on cutting-edge projects to improve lives in ways that haven't been imagined before," says Oldham. "We're happy and honored to be supporting them in their work."