MISSOULA – Cheyenne Laue, a University of Montana doctoral student in computational anthropology, recently was awarded the American Association of University Women’s American Fellowship for the 2017-18 academic year.
The fellowship, which comes with a $20,000 award, supports women scholars who are completing dissertations or preparing research for publication. Candidates are evaluated on the basis of scholarly excellence, quality and originality of project design, and active commitment to helping women and girls through service in their communities, professions or fields of research.
Laue is among only eight Montana students to earn the AAUW Fellowship in the past decade. She studies humans as a technological species, as well as the effects of cultural practices and patterns on the creation and adoption of new artifacts. She uses computer simulation to model the extent to which technologies impact human societies, intervening in and altering both cultural dynamics and the natural environments that human social groups inhabit.
Laue earned a master’s degree in anthropology in 2013 and received both the P.E.O. and Bertha Morton fellowships in 2016-17. She also is the founder of the nonprofit Girls Get Coding!
“One of the major barriers to increasing young women's interest in computer science careers may be girls’ alienation from computer programming during elementary school,” Laue said. “In order to address this problem in Missoula, I founded a nonprofit organization – Girls Get Coding! – to provide elementary school girls with one-on-one computer programming lessons from an experienced female mentor.”
Her nonprofit program is designed to alleviate the anxiety girls often experience programming in large, mixed-gender groups where topics may be tailored to the interests and skills of boys.
“Girls are able to choose specific projects and develop sound technical skills in a supportive environment that emphasizes courage, resiliency and self-confidence,” Laue said.
A second UM anthropology graduate student, Madhu Jagdeeshan is the first alternate for the AAUW International Fellowship for the 2017-18 academic year.
The international fellowship is for women pursuing graduate study in the U.S. who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Jagdeeshan, who is from Mumbai, India, holds a master’s degree in interdisciplinary gender studies from Cambridge University and received a Tolle Bekken award from UM in 2016-17. She will spend the next six months in northern India conducting a pilot study and engaging in archival research.
The American Fellowships program began in 1888 during a time when women were discouraged from pursuing an education. Now one of the largest sources of funding for graduate education for women, AAUW has provided more than $100 million to upward of 12,000 fellows and grantees.
One of the world’s largest sources of funding for women in postgraduate study, AAUW will provide more than $3.7 million in funding for fellowships and grants to 250 outstanding women and nonprofit organizations during the 2017-18 academic year.
For more information visit http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/educational-funding-and-awards/.