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Sarah Harlow Shirk ’87

box_shirk_sarah.jpgSarah Harlow Shirk ’87 recently received the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring for her leadership of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The award recognizes the importance of mentoring in the academic and personal development of young women underrepresented in math, science, technology, and engineering. WISE aims to increase the participation of women in these traditionally male-dominated fields. Since the creation of WISE in 2002, more than 120 graduate women have presented their research at professional meetings and academic conferences. As the current director of pre-college outreach for WISE, Shirk organizes peer mentoring for more than 1,300 students in sixth through 12th grades. Shirk and her WISE colleagues will receive a $10,000 stipend to advance their pioneering work. In an award letter, President Obama wrote, “[Your] efforts bring us closer to achieving a community of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians that reflects and harnesses the
diversity of our great nation.”

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