A grant from the Henry Luce Foundation Inc. of New York City will provide full scholarships and summer research experiences for four women majoring in the physical sciences at Hope College.

The scholarships, which will go into place beginning with the summer of 2004 and have been established through the foundation's Clare Boothe Luce Program, are for women students who are rising juniors majoring in computer science, physics or engineering at Hope. The goal is to encourage women interested in science disciplines in which they are traditionally underrepresented nationwide.

"It is exciting to be able to provide exceptional encouragement to young women entering careers in computer science, physics and engineering. While these disciplines are traditionally overlooked by women as they consider career opportunities in science, the rewards and benefits of entering such careers are outstanding," said Dr. James Gentile, who is dean for the natural sciences at Hope and the Kenneth G. Herrick Professor of Biology. "The young Hope women selected for these scholarships will ultimately become role models for other young women to also consider career paths in these disciplines."

"Hope College is a recognized national leader in science education. The funds provided to women students at Hope through the Clare Boothe Luce Program is a clear recognition of the quality of our students, particularly our women students, and the strength of the education that they receive at our institution," he said. "I have no doubt that the women students selected for these scholarships will ultimately be successful national leaders in their own right and therefore encourage more women to select career path opportunities in computer science, physics and engineering."

Female students pursuing one of the eligible majors will be able to apply during the second semester of their sophomore year. The scholarships will support them in conducting research at Hope during the summer after they are chosen, during their junior year and during the summer following their junior year. The students will also be expected to continue to engage in research as seniors, and will have a chance to continue in research during the summer after graduation.

They will also receive full scholarships for tuition, fees, room and board for their junior and senior years at the college.

Two students will be chosen during the spring of 2004, and two more during the spring of 2005.

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc. With assets of $650 million, the foundation supports programs focusing on higher education, East and Southeast Asia, American art, theology, public policy and the environment, and women in science and engineering.

Clare Boothe Luce (1903-87) in her career was a playwright, journalist, ambassador and member of Congress, and was also the wife of Henry R. Luce. She established the Clare Boothe Luce Program in her will "to encourage women to enter, study, graduate, and teach" in fields where there have been barriers to their advancement: physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, meteorology, engineering and mathematics. According to the foundation, women comprise nearly half of the faculty in non-science fields nationwide, but only a quarter in science and engineering.

Since its creation, the program has provided some 750 undergraduate scholarships and nearly 400 graduate fellowships to women pursuing studies in the sciences, mathematics and engineering.