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THE GLAXO FOUNDATION LAUNCHES WOMEN IN SCIENCE SCHOLARS PROGRAM More than $250,000 in Endowed Scholarships Established at 11 NC Schools

 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Glaxo Foundation today launched a major initiative to support scientific studies by women undergraduate students at 11 North Carolina colleges and universities. The Glaxo Women in Science Scholars program combines more than $250,000 in endowed scholarships with a unique mentoring program linking each student with a Glaxo woman scientist.
 During an awards ceremony at Glaxo Inc.'s Sir Paul Girolami Research & Development Center in Research Triangle Park, 22 undergraduate women students were recognized for their scholastic achievements and presented with $1,000 scholarships. Each student was paired with a female scientist from Glaxo who has volunteered to serve as her mentor during her undergraduate career.
 "The scientific challenges we face today are immense," said Charles A. Sanders, M.D., chairman and CEO of Glaxo Inc. and chairman of The Glaxo Foundation. "It will take all of the brightest minds available to discover cures for diseases like AIDS and cancer, to put a space station in orbit, to find solutions to environmental threats that endanger our clean air and water."
 Statistics show that many promising women students are abandoning scientific studies. We cannot afford this loss of skill, knowledge and energy. The Women in Science Scholars program is designed to provide young women not only with financial support, but also role models who will help guide them on to successful careers that ultimately will benefit us all."
 John S. Thomas, executive director of the Foundation, explained that in addition to the incentive scholarships, each participating institution received a $25,000 endowment to provide funding for future Glaxo Women in Science Scholars. Selected by their schools, the students must have demonstrated an interest in science and maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
 Participating colleges include Appalachian State University, Barton College, East Carolina University, Elon College, Fayetteville State University, Lenoir-Rhyne College, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Wesleyan College, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Western Carolina University.
 Myra Williams, Ph.D., vice president and chief information officer of Glaxo Inc., said in her keynote address that the Glaxo mentors hope to draw on their experiences to help the students navigate the many challenges women often face as they pursue careers in science.
 "Many studies have found that differences in the way men and women are taught and subtle discrimination in certain academic settings can produce a lack of self-confidence in some young women," said Williams, a co-coordinator of the program. "As someone who has experienced many of these challenges firsthand, I believe guidance from mentors who have successfully overcome such barriers will be invaluable to these students."
 "The annual loss of talent is truly alarming," Williams observed. "In 1992 alone, only one of every ten engineering Ph.D.s was awarded to a woman. The story is the same in other disciplines -- women comprised only 12 percent of doctoral degree recipients in physics and astronomy and only 14 percent in computer sciences."
 A recent National Science Foundation study reported that between 1980 and 1992, less than three percent of the 340,000 women pursuing scientific studies in their freshmen year of college received doctorate degrees in natural or physical sciences. While the number of men and women earning bachelors' degrees in biological and agricultural sciences is roughly equivalent, twice as many men as women receive Ph.D.s in those fields. Recent studies by leading sociologists and scientists have pointed to the lack of role models for female science students as a primary cause of this decline.
 Williams said the Glaxo mentors -- who represent a variety of fields, from statistics to medical research to systems analysis -- will help broaden the students' understanding of science's role in society and help the students develop their own individual scientific `styles' through advice and encouragement.
 The Glaxo Foundation was founded in 1986 and supports activities that help meet current and anticipated needs in health and education. Glaxo Inc. is the sole contributor to the Foundation, which focuses on programs that emphasize the understanding and application of health, science and mathematics at all educational and professional levels.
 Glaxo Inc., based in Research Triangle Park, is one of the nation's largest research-based pharmaceutical firms.
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 /CONTACT: Ramona Jones, Glaxo Public Affairs, 919-248-2839/

CO: The Glaxo Foundation; Glaxo Inc. ST: North Carolina IN: MTC SU:

CM -- CH021 -- 4688 11/15/93 17:04 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 15, 1993

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