It is no secret that Dr. Howell believed that inspiring careers and unleashing innovation in women’s health required a significant infusion of funding. Dr. Beatrice Rose believed it as well. For 15 years, Dr. Rose actively participated in donating towards the advancement of women’s health.
We recently heard from Stephanie Meyers, one of our 2014 Howell Foundation’s Susan Rose Memorial Scholarship. She is currently concluding her Master’s thesis in neurodegenerative disease, which is known to disproportionately affect women. As she describes her journey to becoming a prominent scientist addressing women’s health in our community, we continue to celebrate the incredible life of Dr. Beatrice Rose, who passed earlier this year at 105 years young.
Thank you Stephanie, for your kind words and inspiring other women and girls to follow a career in the scientific field! We wish you much success in your career path!
“The Howell Scholarship enabled me to gain critical experience in biology research, and in many ways facilitated one of the most formative experiences in my career. Thank you for investing in me when I was just another young scientist pursuing big questions and big dreams.”
“My parents always wanted their children to become engineers. I remember when my mom volunteered in my elementary class, lecturing avid children about circuits and electricity. She told my class, ‘Engineers are people who want to understand how things work’. None of my mom’s three children became engineers, but her words still have special meaning to me.
At the age of 16, I had my first experience with academic research when I earned a summer internship at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. There, I worked in the laboratory of Gerald Edelman, a Nobel Prize laureate. He sat as his computer, and asked me what I thought he was doing. I told him I did not know, and he replied “I am re-writing your textbooks”. Immersed in a fast-paced neuroscience laboratory, 90% of what was going on around me went totally over my head, but it inspired me to be curious and pursue neuroscience as my major at The University of California, San Diego. There, I continued to conduct research throughout my undergraduate years.
In 2014, I earned the Howell Foundation’s Susan Rose Memorial Scholarship to fund my project which studied the role of a specific protein in heart cell structure. This scholarship allowed me to conduct research full-time during the summer, and helped pay my tuition costs. It also funded posters that I went on to present regarding my research at multiple conferences and events, and experiments that resulted in peer-reviewed publications.
In short, this scholarship enabled me to gain critical experience in biology research, and in many ways facilitated one of the most formative experiences in my career. Without this scholarship, I would have needed to work a summer job to pay for my tuition, and would not have spent the summer conducting crucial research in a world-class facility. I am truly grateful, seven years later and counting, for the generosity of the Howell Foundation. It is with this spirit of generosity that I continue to learn, teach, and grow as a scientist.
I am currently concluding my Master’s thesis in the field of neurodegenerative disease, and have received multiple job offers in the neuropharmacology field. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease disproportionately affect women compared to men due to reasons that are still poorly understood.
As an Associate Scientist in the neurobiology division at a prominent pharmacology company, I will continue to conduct research with the potential to benefit patients with neurodegenerative and neuromuscular disorders. I will ask questions such as ‘What causes dementia?’, ‘Why are some genders/ethnicities/groups more likely to develop the disease than others?’, and ‘How can we prevent and treat neurodegenerative disease?’
Perhaps, one day, I will even contribute to research that propels us to re-write paradigms and textbooks. Until then, I will ask more broadly, ‘how does the brain work?’
My mom never got an engineer, but she did get three kids who, in their respective fields of physics, chemistry, and neuroscience, are continuing to ask ‘How do things work?’. These questions are powered, in many ways, by the generosity of individuals and organizations that foster the next generation of scientists, thinkers, and educators. Thank you for investing in me when I was just another young scientist pursuing big questions and big dreams.”
About the Howell Foundation:
The Howell Foundation advances women’s health by funding undergraduate and graduate research scholarships, awarding grants to scientists who conduct research benefiting under represented women in the community, and supporting outreach efforts and events that promote health education and self-advocacy for the long-term health and well-being of women, their families and the community in which they live.