The P.E.O. Record September-October 2022 (public)


Emily Lau NOMINATING CHAPTER: OK, Santa Barbara, California SCHOOL: University of California FIELD OF STUDY: Ecology, evolution and marine biology DEGREE: Ph.D.

Sarah Miles NOMINATING CHAPTER: AG, Chapel Hill, North Carolina SCHOOL: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill FIELD OF STUDY: History DEGREE: Ph.D.

Emily Lau understands reaching for the stars even if those stars are reflected in other sources of light. She identifies genes that are responsible for producing bioluminescence, the biological production of light, and harnesses them to produce new bioluminescence-based imaging tools. She proposes to harness the bioluminescence system of fireflies to develop a biosensor that reports on sulfation activities by producing bioluminescence. Emily wants to combine firefly luciferase and luciferin sulfotransferase in live cells to produce a biosensor system that generates light in response to sulfation activity. She will then use a biosensor to assess sulfation activities in different types of cancerous and non- cancerous cells as a way to treat cancer. Emily holds a B.A. in biochemistry and anthropology (summa cum laude) from Hunter College and is pursuing a Ph.D. in ecology, evolution and marine biology at the University of California. She ultimately envisions herself leading a lab that characterizes bioluminescence systems to generate fundamental knowledge and applied biotechnologies. Emily has received the Annabelle B. Bush Memorial Scholars Award.

From a young age, Sarah Miles had a desire to learn about the past. Through grade school, she sought historical information; she loved learning about human experiences, the factors that explained tragedy and success and why the distant past is connected to the present. Now, as a graduate student, Sarah’s studies focus on the political and intellectual history of the left in France, Quebec and Algeria in the 20th century. Rooted in Franco-Algerian solidarity during the Algerian War, militants used publications to envision a revolutionary project that spanned three continents and two decades. Sarah argues that a shared vision was developed through radical print culture. She holds a B.A. in history (summa cum laude) from the University of Oklahoma and seeks a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She wants to be a college professor, instilling in students a passion for learning and a complex understanding of the past. Sarah has received a Yao Ming Charitable Fund Named Scholar Award.

Elena Louder NOMINATING CHAPTER: AU, Tucson, Arizona SCHOOL: University of Montana FIELD OF STUDY: Geography DEGREE: Ph.D.

Charla “Aubrey” Rhodes NOMINATING CHAPTER: A, Phoenix, Arizona SCHOOL: Arizona State University FIELD OF STUDY: Clinical psychology DEGREE: Ph.D.

Elena Louder is an international traveler who has worked as a river and adventure tourism guide in South America, Africa and Asia. She began traveling to Chile to work as a whitewater rafting guide in Patagonia, which led to studying the politics of private land conservation. Through her studies, her relationship with Chile transformed from “the infatuation of an adrenaline junky to the concern and dedication of an engaged scholar.” She holds a B.S. (resource conservation, magna cum laude), an M.S. in international conservation and development and now pursues a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Montana. She studies environmental issues focusing on equity and justice. For her dissertation, she investigates the politics of energy transition (the switch from fossil fuels to renewables) in Chile. She aims to be a university professor to pursue research, publish her work, engage with policy audiences and mentor and teach students. She dreams of founding a social science energy research center which conducts theoretically rich and societally relevant research to help solve energy challenges. Elena has received a Yao Ming Charitable Fund Named Scholar Award.

In high school, Charla “Aubrey” Rhodes spearheaded an effort to partner with a small Kenyan school to improve educational outcomes for girls. It completely failed, which she learned is common for projects based on “good intentions.” She began to ask questions about what made programs effective. In college, she volunteered at 12 nonprofits and discovered the power of interventions to change the trajectory of children’s lives. Aubrey holds a B.A. in psychology (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an M.A. in clinical psychology at Arizona State University and is now pursuing a Ph.D. Her research focuses on the development and evaluation of unique methods of disseminating evidence-based parenting programs to make them more accessible and appealing for at-risk families, such as divorced and bereaved families. She converted the New Beginnings Program, the gold-standard, evidence-based intervention for divorced families to an audio format and is examining its efficacy in improving parenting practices and children’s mental health. Aubrey has received a Yao Ming Charitable Fund Named Scholar Award.


THE P.E.O. RECORD | September–October 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

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