L'Oreal Fellows

Ritu Raman, a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical and biomedical engineering at MIT, was among the recipients of the 2017 For Women in Science Fellowship, which comes with a $60,000 grant. (rituraman.com photo)

L'Oreal USA Oct. 10 announced its handful of 2017 For Women in Science Fellows with Indian American postdoctoral fellow Ritu Raman among the recipients.

Raman, along with the other four fellows — Kellie Ann Jerado of Yale, Felicity Muth of the University of Nevada, Sydney Schreppler of U.C. Berkeley and Molly Schumer of Harvard Medical School — were honored for their groundbreaking research across a wide range of fields.

Raman is a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical and biomedical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"This year's For Women in Science fellows exemplify the many contributions that women are making to STEM fields," said Frédéric Rozé, president and chief executive officer of L'Oréal USA. "L'Oréal has a legacy of innovation that would not have been possible without the women who make up the majority of our scientific workforce. Today, more than ever, we are proud to support our country's most accomplished women scientists at a key moment in their careers, and to empower them to continue their groundbreaking work."

Raman's research focuses on the design of new smart materials that dynamically respond and adapt to their environment.

Specifically, Raman is developing these smart materials and using them to transform the way we deliver medication to people through the creation of a long-lasting pill device that delivers oral medication more reliably, cost-effectively and efficiently, L'Oreal said in Raman's bio.

The L'Oréal USA For Women in Science fellowship will provide Raman the freedom to conduct her pioneering research and collaborate with other scientists, engineers and clinicians in this effort, it said.

Raman has been passionate about inspiring girls and women in STEM fields throughout her career, including helping found and grow the University of Illinois chapter of the Graduate Society of Women Engineers.

Raman, 26, who was born and raised in India, Kenya and throughout the U.S., received her doctorate and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor's in mechanical engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering from Cornell University.

Created in 1998, the L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Awards is a global program that recognizes and rewards women scientists around the world. Specifically, the program recognizes women researchers for their contributions to the advancement of science, technology engineering and mathematics fields.

Through the international program and the nearly 50 national and regional programs, such as the L'Oréal USA For Women in Science program, more than 2,500 female scientists from over 100 countries have been granted fellowships to pursue promising research projects, the company said in a news release.

The 2017 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.

Each of the fellows, who are female scientists at a critical stage in their careers, are awarded with $60,000 grants to advance their postdoctoral research.

Now in its 14th year, the fellowship program has awarded 70 postdoctoral women scientists more than $3.5 million in grants.

The fellows will be formally honored at an awards ceremony Nov. 9 in Washington, D.C.

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