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Whitten Prize for Women in the Natural Sciences

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Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
24 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on June 01, at 12:00 AM MDT
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Whitten Prize for Women in the Natural Sciences

A New Prize for Women in the Natural Sciences

In the spirit of offering encouragement and mentoring to CC’s women science students, this year CC’s science faculty approved a new prize to be given each year at Honors Convocation. The prize will be given to women students who excel in the natural sciences and help others to excel.  

While many disciplines have equal representation of men and women, in several disciplines such as chemistry, physics and computer science, women are very underrepresented. In all disciplines staying the course as a woman in science presents significant challenges while navigating fields where women were, until recently, scarce. 

Borah, John (2017, July 04). CC Boasts Gender Diversity in Some, But Not All, Science Departments. The Catalyst. Retrieved from

This prize offers the chance to recognize the strength and perseverance of these women. The prize both benefits recipients and serves as a symbol of CC’s commitment to gender diversity in science. 

How You Can Help

We would like to offer a small cash award ($150) with the prize at Honor’s Convocation. If we raise enough funds, we will also offer recipients the chance to later apply to the prize fund to cover costs associated with graduate school application or other science career advancement (up to $250 per recipient).  We need your help to raise these funds!  

Background of the Prize

The prize is named in honor of Barbara Whitten, a retiring member of the physics faculty. Barbara spent a substantial portion of her career promoting women in science both through academic research and through direct mentoring. In her most broad-reaching work she visited 16 undergraduate physics departments and conducted in-depth interviews of students and faculty, observed classes and social events, and distilled these observations into articles entitled “What Works? Increasing the Participation by Women in Undergraduate Physics.” She also has written a suite of physics problems for the introductory courses that are designed to be inclusive of women and minorities. The prize is named for Barbara both to honor her and to encourage and reward the type of activism she embodies. 

The statement of the prize criteria is given as:

The Barbara Whitten Prize for Women in the Natural Sciences: This prize is given to a woman student in the natural sciences who exemplifies Barbara Whitten’s model of achieving personal scientific excellence while helping others do the same. Personal scientific excellence is a combination of an excellent academic record in the natural sciences, and/or exceptional research in a scientific field. The recipient should also demonstrate a significant commitment to the advancement of women or underrepresented groups in the sciences through scholarly, community, pedagogical, or other work. 

Choose a giving level


Cover an application fee

$50 pays for a graduate school application fee for a prize recipient


Cover the prize for 1 student

$150 provides the cash prize for a prize recipient for one year.


Cover the cost of the GRE

$205 covers the cost of taking the GRE (graduate record exam) for a prize recipient applying to graduate school


Cover Career Funds

$250 covers funds for career advancement funds for one recipient


Cover entire prize for 1 year

$400 covers the entire cost of giving the prize for one year


Cover cash prize for 10 years

$1500 covers the cost of the cash prize for 10 years


Cover whole prize for 10 years

$4000 covers the cost of the entire prize for 10 years

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