Advancing the status of women through financial support in the final phase of their doctoral programs.

2011 Fellowship Recipients

Xiaoxiao Zhang              Electrical EngineeringUniversity of California, Berkeley
Xiaoxiao was educated in China earning her BS in physics and then came to UCLA for her Master’s in mechanical engineering.  During her time at UCLA she saw some of the struggles that foreign students were having. She became actively involved with a non-profit Christian organization to help these students, many of who were suffering from depression to get connected with other people, organizing regular conferences and setting up websites.  When she felt that she had fulfilled her goal, four years had passed, and she decided it was time to go back to the field of research that always interested her.  She applied for the PhD program at the University of Hawaii, where her husband also is a PhD  student in oceanography. Although she studies electrical engineering, her emphasis has always been on biomedical applications.  She as just received a paten for an “Efficient Microencapsulation” device. This microencapsulation may have a very large impact on the treatment of Diabetes. Xiaoxiao sums up her application by saying “research just for the sake of more publication is meaningless.  How people can benefit from it is what motivates me the most”.’ Xiaoxiao received an $8,000.00 award.

Patience FieldingEducation University of California, Berkeley
As a very young child Patience remembers her mother’s determination to enable her children to break the cycle of poverty that had been holding her and the women of her family for generations. Patience says my community in Bali, Cameroon, West Africa was very patriarchal and sending girls to school was deemed a waste of resources and formal education was reserved for the males. She had to negotiate her rights to an education by contributing towards her tuition and doing schoolwork only after all chores were completed.  School was were she wanted to be, she was an avid reader, and her love of learning made her a star student. At ten, she was accepted into a boarding school run by Baptist missionaries. It was a very lonely time for her, but again she threw herself into her studies and excelled.  Although she yearned to be a diplomat, this was not to be as
these spots were reserved for the children or relatives of influential government officials. Again, her mother encouraged her to become a teacher.  Patience studied in France and then came to the United States where she enrolled in the Masters in Instructional Technology at San Jose State University. With her experiences of seeing how few women are enrolled or finish their studies in science, mathematics and technology, she is focusing her PhD dissertation on the importance of  giving women more access to the types of classes that will promote more women to enter the fields of science and technology. Patience received a $12,000.00 award.

Kimberly Hoang              Sociology      University of California, Berkeley
Kimberly is the first person in her extended family to go to college.  This was only possible because her parents sold everything they had, and moved from Orange County to Bakersfield, so  she could attend UCSB.  She served as both a Resident Assistant for three years and also as a counselor for Upward Bound.  In these positions she worked to bring diversity to the dorms as well as assisting local low-income high school students prepare for college.  Kim was admitted to the PhD program at Stanford, but soon realized that this was not were she wanted to be.  She entered UC Berkeley and advanced to Candidacy in June of 2009. She continued with her mentoring programs to encourage undergraduates to continue with their education.  She organized two writing groups that emphasized professional development and was the first to have a sole-authored publication that has been translated into Vietnamese and French and featured in several newspapers.  She says that the translations have provided my parents with a venue to read and find value in my work. In June 2009 she moved to Vietnam to begin her field research on sex workers and their clients.  She plans to show how different socio economic groups view the relationships between workers and clientele, and the rural to urban migration and the prevalence of HIV and AIDS. She has also consulted tor Fashion for Freedom, an NGO dedicated to preventing young girls from entering the sex trade or becoming victims of cross boarder human trafficking. Kimberly received a $10,000.00 awards.

Yalda Asmatey    Anthropology           University of California, Berkeley
Yalda and her family were forced to flee their home in Afghanistan after the Russian invasion in the early 80’s. It was a difficult journey, leaving during the middle of the night with helicopters hovering overhead and bombs exploding on the ground. There was no turning to take one last look at the home they were leaving Yalda’s  arrival in the United States set the stage for her desire to combine several  different paths that have lead her to her PHD dissertation. Her parents instilled in her the importance of an education, and she worked hard to achieve her goals.  She received her M.P.H degree from UCLA, as well as her M.A. in Social-Cultural Anthropology at UC Berkeley.  Initially her dissertation was focused in another direction, however in 2008 she decided to look at her “back yard” and saw what was happening with the largest toxic waste dump west of the Mississippi, Kettelman City, CA. She is hopeful that her research will show what the effects of these toxic sites have on the people who live and work in these areas, in the form of birth defects of their children, to their own health, and what can be done to change these dump sites. Yalda received a $10,000.00 award.

Sharon Bone       Environmental Science      University of California, Berkeley
Sharon was born in Berkeley, to parents who valued an education, especially her father, who
encouraged her to explore art and music as well as literature. She has a love of cooking and baking, which actually led her to her field of study.  To quote from Sharon’s application “I am passionate about the preparation of food because our agricultural, ranching and fishing practices have a profound effect on ecosystem integrity” She attended Vassar, graduating with honors in chemistry, and physical chemistry.  She is pursuing a graduate degree in Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley because she is driven to learn about the natural world and to apply this knowledge towards improving the water quality of contaminated ecosystems, especially the vulnerable costal environments that she considers to be home. Sharon received a $10,000.00 award.

Maria Hernandez                    Social Welfare           University of California, Berkeley
Maria came to California from Mexico, with her mother and sister when she was four years old, but knew at once that this was home.  Her mother who worked hard to support her two daughters always took special time on week-ends for trips to the library. Life took a turn for the worse when her mother married a man who was more cruel than kind, but she continued excelling in school, knowing that knowledge was a gift she wanted more of. She graduated from Mount St. Mary’s college with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Political Science.  She than decided that since most of her volunteer work and an internship for a social service agency she would pursue a graduate degree in social work and was accepted in the USC where she received her Masters degree and a credential to work as a School Social Worker. After two years of seeing some of the same issues over and over, and yet finding people reluctant to seek mental health care, the she went back to school at UC Berkeley to get her Ph.D and help develop a program to address the problem of depression in the Latino community that often times does not want to seek help due to the stigma and low health literacy. Maria received a $10,000.00 award