Support for women in science
Professor Laurel Schafer’s provocative and informative guest editorial in the Feb. 24 issue of C&EN (page 2) on the challenges she has faced in advancing her career prompted me to advise your readers that the American Society of Pharmacognosy (copublishers, with the American Chemical Society, of the Journal of Natural Products) has established the Audrey S. Bingel Fellowship to help our female members deal with the myriad obstacles and challenges that they face over the course of their careers. This fellowship is made possible by a bequest from the estate of professor Audrey S. Bingel to the American Society of Pharmacognosy Foundation and was inspired by her keen interest in women’s health, other issues of concern to female researchers, and mentoring young female scientists.
Despite significant increases in the number of women entering the wide field of natural products over the past 30–40 years, there remain formidable challenges for women to succeed (or, in some cases, even enter or gain a foothold) in certain career paths in natural products. Further, women can face obstacles that do not appear to impact men to the same extent. Sometimes, these issues prompt women to consider alternative career paths. The Audrey S. Bingel Fellowship is intended to provide funds, up to $25,000, to assist a female scientist in transitioning from a current career track to another or to bolster the likelihood of success in her current career path. The funds could conceivably be employed for but are not limited to additional time for research, formal training, a sabbatical or an internship in a laboratory or other organization with a new focus for the applicant, seed money to initiate a truly new research direction, course buyouts, bridging funds for childcare, and time for grant writing, job hunting, and attendance at scientific meetings.
Fellowships were awarded in 2019 to two deserving young women to help in their career trajectories. Current funding for the Bingel Fellowship is sufficient to support 8–10 such awards.
John H. Cardellina II
Chair, ASP Foundation Board of Directors
Virginia Beach, Virginia