Dowding '94 receives $5,000 Luce fellowship

by Scott Thomas | 5/20/94 5:00am

Christina Dowding '94 recently received a $5,000 fellowship awarded by the Thayer School of Engineering to encourage women to pursue engineering careers by helping to fund their graduate education.

Dowding plans to work with several other students this summer to design a bridge leading to Stoddard Cabin on Dartmouth's 27,000-acre Second College Grant. The cabin, located 140 miles from campus, lies across Swift Diamond River and is inaccessible except by boat or by wading.

The proposed 80-foot-long bridge will make it possible to hike directly to the cabin. Past bridges have been destroyed by ice during the spring thaw, but Dowding said her group seeks to improve the design.

The project is part of Engineering 196-295, a double-sequence course Dowding will complete this summer, in which small groups of students work together on real-world projects.

Dowding said she is excited about the project, which will allow her to put to use many of her engineering skills. She is also earning a certificate in environmental studies, and said she hopes to use recycled materials for the project.

Dowding said she feels lucky to be able to give something back to the Dartmouth community. She said she also hopes the publicity given to the fellowship will alert women to some of the opportunities available in post graduate engineering studies.

"Although I am excited about the funding to stay here this summer and get my B.E.," Dowding said, "I think, more importantly, that this Luce Fellowship is valuable because it encourages women to pursue more technical degrees."

Dowding's $5,000 award is called the Luce Special Graduate Fellowship and was requested by David Ragone, former dean of the Thayer School, who now sits on the board of the Henry Luce Foundation.

The Luce Special Graduate Fellowship comes from the same foundation as Thayer's Clare Booth Luce Fellowship, which awards $50,000 for two fellowships to women waiting to complete their bachelor of engineering degrees.

Michelle Moore '94 and Christie Cameron '94 were recognized Fall term as recipients of the Clare Booth Luce Fellowships. Both students were chosen from a competitive applicant pool and will complete their B.E.s next spring.

Dowding was chosen for the special fellowship from the applicant pool for the Clare Booth Luce Fellowship. Because she took on an extra course load in engineering her senior year, she will be able to finish her B.E. this summer before she moves on to work for a consulting firm in Boston next year.

The fund was established by Clare Booth Luce, a playwright and journalist whose will alloted money to be allocated through the Henry Luce Foundation Inc. of New York for women in the science field. Although she was not a scientist, Luce was a ground-breaker for women in several fields and recognized the under-representation of women in the sciences.

Dartmouth was invited to apply for use of these funds so, in 1992, Muller asked the foundation for a special fund for women waiting to complete their bachelor of engineering degree.

"I'm really excited we have these opportunities to support women in engineering," Muller said, "and I wish we had more of them -- both women [in science] and fellowships."