The Ebell-Flint Scholarship has helped local area students for more than 100 years.
Now conducted entirely online, the Scholarship Committee is busy preparing for our next round of applicants. Students from a wide range of public and private institutions in Los Angeles County have benefited from Ebell support. Ebell Scholars are chosen from a broad range of academic disciplines – medicine, law and public policy, social sciences, film and digital media, business administration and finance, architecture and urban design, textiles and fine arts, ethnic studies, and the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.
In this uncertain time, many students and their families have lost jobs. College has moved online and will remain so at least until fall, and possibly beyond. Financial and health stress take a real toll on students. The Scholarship Committee is proud to help support our local area students succeed in college.
Lauren Duenas just graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a biochemistry major. For three years, Lauren worked in a research lab engaged in designing lightweight, inexpensive, durable electrochemical sensors for point-of-care diagnostic devices that allow people with chronic diseases like diabetes or Parkinson’s disease to monitor their health at home. These microfluidic electrochemical sensors detect different concentrations of glucose and acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter found in the muscle that helps contraction – low amounts are indicative of a problem) in small amounts of fluid via an inexpensive thread. (At one point, this thread was purchased at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics!) Based on her work, Lauren published an article in the journal Micromachine – an important first step for a career in science.
Lauren’s story shows the progress women have made in science. Her professor, who was the Principal Investigator (PI) of the study, invited her to join his lab. To her surprise, women outnumbered men in the lab by five to one. The reason? The PI sought students with the highest grades. Her mentor pushed students to write journal articles and present at conferences. Lauren has been to at least nine conferences as a presenter, which increased her confidence.
Lauren notes that her family had an adjustment to make to her college career. Lauren is a first-generation college student and the first of her siblings to go to college. Lab work is very time consuming. Her parents did not understand at first how much work it took to be successful in science. Her mom was upset that Lauren would not get home at a decent hour. Having the scholarship and grants took the pressure off having to get an additional job, and Lauren was able to graduate debt-free. Lauren also brought her mother and brother to the historic Ebell to enjoy the scholarship ceremony before the pandemic, a high point.
Lauren is applying to a variety of graduate schools to study atmospheric chemistry in an effort to address greenhouse gases and climate change. She feels grateful to have met so many female Latina scientists, and plans to encourage other Latinas to enter STEM fields.
The Scholarship Committee wishes Lauren the best of luck in the next phase of her education. Ebell Scholars make a difference! If you are interested in joining the Scholarship Committee, please contact Judith Day, Director of Scholarship.