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How can we work together to promote better cultural understanding worldwide?

Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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BU Honors Outstanding Women in Sciences, Math, Engineering

August 24th, 2012

Boston University is honored to be among the 13 educational institutions designated by the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Program of the Henry Luce Foundation to receive annual funding in perpetuity to advance the careers of women in the sciences, engineering and mathematics – fields where women have been historically underrepresented (

Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987) was an American playwright, journalist, ambassador, and one of the first women elected to Congress. The bequest of her estate to the Henry Luce Foundation established the program, and since its first grants in 1989, the CBL Program of the Henry Luce Foundation has become the single most significant source of private support for women in science, mathematics and engineering.

Each year, in accordance with this program and with the final wishes of Clare Boothe Luce, Boston University recognizes a small number of talented women students in the fields of the Physical and Life Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering, and Computer Science through the awarding of the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Fellowship and Clare Boothe Luce Scholar Awards.

CBL Fellowships are awarded for a period of two academic years to highly qualified doctoral, masters, or specialized graduate or professional degree candidates, while CBL Scholar Awards support undergraduate summer research projects and are administered through BU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

Nominations for admitted and continuing BU graduate students were submitted in February to the Office of the Provost by department chairs and directors of graduate studies. Recipients were selected on the basis of academic excellence and outstanding promise. Preference is given to candidates in fields where women are most underrepresented and is restricted to U.S. citizens.

This year saw an especially strong group of nominees across the fields. This year’s CBL Fellows are:

Alyssa Pierson, a first year Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering (nominated by Chair, Prof. Ronald Roy and advised by Prof. Mac Schwager)

Kate Thurmer, a first year MS student in General Engineering (nominated by advisor, Prof. Hamid Nawab, LEAP Program Director)

Additionally, following are the recipients of the 2012 CBL Scholar Awards:

Colleen Gill (CAS ’14), a rising junior majoring in Chemistry (mentored by Prof. Corey Stephenson)

Harleen Grewel (CAS ’13), a rising senior majoring in Mathematics (mentored by Prof. Suryaram Gummuluru)

Lisa Kellndorfer (CAS ’13), a rising senior majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (mentored by Prof. Karen Allen)

Katherine Murphy (ENG ’13), a rising senior majoring in Electrical Engineering (mentored by Prof. Mark Horenstein)

Neha Sharma (ENG ’13), a rising senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering (mentored by Prof. Srikanth Gopalan)

Kolby Weisenburger (CAS ’13), a rising senior majoring in Astrophysics (mentored by Prof. Andrew West)

Recipients of support from the CBL Program join a distinguished cadre of more than 1500 outstanding women scientists and engineers nationwide.

More information on the CBL Program at Boston University may be found here. Associate Provost for Graduate Affairs Timothy Barbari serves as the official contact in the Provost’s Office for the CBL Program and may be reached at

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