BC undergraduate 'wunderkind' racks up five national awards for science research

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (4-25-06) Aspiring cancer researcher Elizabeth O'Day of Boston College is well on her way to becoming one of the nation's most recognized female scientists -- and she hasn't even graduated yet.

O'Day, currently a senior, has achieved what no one at Boston College -- and few, if any, at other universities have done: she has won five of the nation's most coveted academic awards for her scientific research efforts. After earning Beckman and Goldwater fellowships as a sophomore and junior respectively, this year O'Day has received a Winston Churchill Scholarship to study at Cambridge University, a Fulbright grant and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

The Braintree, Mass. native is studying cell enzymes that she hopes will contribute to the development of a new class of inhibitors that in turn may lead to a new class of anti-cancer drugs

And, in an equally passionate effort to debunk assertions of female inadequacies in the sciences and to encourage local female high school students to consider a science career, O'Day earlier this year launched at Boston College an initiative of her own design called "Women in Science & Technology." The month-long series brought students from three local high schools to Boston College for research, lectures, field excursions and the opportunity to meet both mentors and role models across scientific disciplines.

The program stems from O'Day's desire to share her own experience as a woman in science, which the BC senior says has been a source of both inspiration and opportunity.

"Last year when I was invited to speak about science at a local high school, I was disappointed to learn that many of the girls in the audience said they found science to be too boring or difficult," said O'Day. "So I decided that I wanted to do something to give teenage girls a better understanding of the scientific process and ultimately to excite them about choosing science

Contact: Jack Dunn
Boston College

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