Public Release: 

USDA chemist wins award for fostering diversity

American Chemical Society

Frances M. DuPont, Ph.D., of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Albany, Calif., will be honored Nov. 2 by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, for encouraging women and minorities to study and pursue careers in chemistry. She will be presented with the Women Chemists Committee Regional Award for Contributions to Diversity at the Western Regional Women Chemist's Committee luncheon at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

DuPont's long and exemplary career fostering diversity began when she was an undergraduate, when she mentored young people at the YMCA. After graduation, she taught biology to students in rural Uganda for three years while serving in the Peace Corps. She continues to reach students of all levels -- especially young women and minorities -- by assisting with training, coaching and advising.

A woman who "practices what she preaches," DuPont has employed minority high school students through USDA sponsorship and the American Chemical Society's Project SEED program. All of her recruits have gone on to college. She has also employed minority and female college students who now lead successful careers in science, law and public health.

Project SEED provides summer fellowships in research laboratories to economically disadvantaged high school students.

For the past five years DuPont has chaired the Agricultural Sciences Academic Workshop, a challenging educational program sponsored by the USDA Western Regional Research Center (WRRC). Each year 12 high school juniors are selected to participate in advanced science classes taught by more than 30 WRRC scientists. Established in 1994, the accredited workshop is designed to reach talented students, provide them with opportunities to learn about agricultural and food science, and encourage them to seek scientific careers.

A plant physiologist at the USDA in Dublin, Calif., since 1983, DuPont has made significant contributions to identifying and understanding chemical functions in plants. She has received several grant awards from the USDA and the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD). She was also the recipient of two Agricultural Research Service Postdoctoral Research Associate awards.

DuPont received bachelor's and master's degrees in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, Los Angeles. She received a Ph.D. in plant physiology from the University of California, Riverside.

The ACS Women Chemist's Committee Regional Award for Contributions to Diversity recognizes individuals who have significantly stimulated or fostered diversity in the chemical enterprises.


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