Wellesley Students Win Watson, Goldwater and Luce Prizes
for 2005-2006

For immediate release:
April 4, 2005
Arlie Corday

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Wellesley College students and one young alumna have garnered numerous prestigious national fellowships this spring.

Laure-Anne Ventouras and Paulina Ponce de Leon Barido are two of 50 college seniors nationwide selected to receive a 2005-2006 Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. The fellowship, with a stipend of $22,000, is a one-year grant for independent study and travel outside the United States.

Ventouras, a biological chemistry major, will study the science and tradition of essential oil making in China, India, Madagascar, Morocco and New Caledonia. She will observe how scent crops are grown and participate in their cultivation, beginning in Morocco for the geranium harvest and ending in Madagascar, where ylang ylang is grown.

A physics major, Ponce de Leon Barido will travel to the Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Peru, and Sri Lanka for her project, “Powering Livelihoods through Appropriate Technology.”

“I have chosen to study development efforts in Peru, Sri Lanka, the Dominican Republic, Mali and Madagascar,” she said. “In each of these countries, I have identified non-profit organizations that have been successful in implementing intermediate energy technologies. Each of these organizations and the communities with which they work will provide me with a better insight into the global effort to provide energy to the poor.”

In addition, Elizabeth Mandeville, a member of the class of 2004, has been named a Luce Scholar. She will travel to Asia to study labor, legal, political and economic issues. The Luce Scholars Program provides stipends and internships for 15 young Americans to live and work in Asia each year. The program's purpose is to increase awareness of Asia among future leaders in American society.

Two Wellesley College students have earned 2005 Goldwater Scholarship Awards: XinXin Du, a junior majoring in physics and mathematics, and Rachel B. Nelson, a junior majoring in biological chemistry.

Du’s career goal is to earn a Ph.D. in physics and to conduct research in theoretical physics. Nelson aims to earn a Ph.D. in molecular biology and then to lead research using real-time PCR and DNA sequencing to determine the cellular functions of some of the genes and proteins whose primary structure have become available through recent sequencing projects.

The Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,091 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. The one and two-year scholarships will cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to www.wellesley.edu.