Highlighted on Science Magazine! Mason Awardee Susan Fullerton Display Benefits of Outsider Perspectives

Susan Fullerton, an assistant professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, is one of five winners presented with the 2019 AAAS Marion Milligan Mason Awards for Women in the Chemical Sciences at a 13 December awards ceremony at the American Association for the Advancement of Science headquarters.

She and her team had created a new ion conductor with a particularly unique property: once the transistor was turned on it stayed on, and once it was turned off it stayed off in the absence of a power supply. This enables memory sticks to store information even when they are disconnected from a computer. Fullerton envisions a future where this type of switching could lead to a memory stick that operates on much lower power than those on the market today and to devices with never-before-seen properties, such as one that can be triggered to permanently destroy its data if it falls into the wrong hands.

The 2019 early-career Mason Award winners receive $50,000 as well as leadership development and mentoring opportunities. At the AAAS event, AAAS CEO Rush Holt said that the award's namesake, Marion Milligan Mason, supported the advancement of women in the chemical sciences and wanted to honor her family's long-standing commitment to higher education for women. Mason's grandfather sent six daughters to college in the late 19th century. Mason earned her doctorate in organic chemistry from Rutgers University in 1970 and was a longtime AAAS member. “She recognized the need to support women, who remain underrepresented in science and particularly in chemistry and the physical sciences,” said Holt.

The 2019 winners are the third group of Mason awardees. AAAS plans to build a community of alumni, like what it has done with the L'Oréal USA Fellowships for Women in Science. Applications for the 2021 Mason Awards open in fall 2019.

Written by Elana Kimbrell. 

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