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LA Chapter Scholar Alum Wins Prestigious Award

Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Dr. Dawn Cornelison (1995-98 Los Angeles Chapter Scholar; Ph.D., Caltech 1998) received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, as announced by the White House on January 9, 2017. One source notes, “The award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.” As noted on her website, her work studying satellite cells, the stem cells responsible for growth, repair, and regeneration of skeletal muscle, “is important not only for the insight it will provide into how the body maintains and repairs itself over a lifetime’s worth of wear and tear, but also because it may help to develop new treatments and therapies for muscle loss due to aging or degenerative diseases such as Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy.”

Dr. Cornelison says: “Support from ARCS Foundation meant an enormous amount to me and my family. As a graduate student in Pasadena with three small children, a spouse who had taken time off from his career to take care of them, and a $12,000 per year stipend, my ARCS scholarship literally paid the rent. It also meant a lot to me to know that who I was, and what I was doing, mattered enough to someone that they would help me try to make it happen. I remember very fondly the interest and encouragement I received from the members of the LA chapter (particularly Mrs. Meier).”

“I am both humbled and proud to have been selected for this award. I feel that it reflects primarily the excellent graduate students and undergraduates who have worked in my lab over the past 10 years. The funding environment in STEM is very difficult currently, and I know from speaking with promising students that it is leading them to choose other careers rather than risk the uncertainty of going into research. ARCS Foundation is doing important work supporting students and researchers so that they have the freedom to pursue basic research with less financial uncertainty. As I noted about my own experience, it also means a lot to know that someone thinks you are worth supporting. Please keep doing what you are doing!”

ARCS Foundation congratulates Dr. Cornelison for her well-deserved early career recognition and looks forward to her future career successes.