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Clare Boothe Luce Program

About Clare Boothe Luce

Clare Boothe Luce truly was a Renaissance woman. Her remarkable career spanned seven decades and nearly as many professional interests: journalism, politics, diplomacy, the theater, and intelligence. In each of those fields she excelled. In each, she broke new paths for women to follow.

She served as Associate Director of Vogue, Associate and Managing Editor of Vanity Fair, and as a newspaper columnist. She was a US Congresswoman from Connecticut and, later, US Ambassador to Italy. Twice she was elected to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. In addition, she authored six plays, most of which were produced on Broadway.

By the time of her death in 1987, Ms. Luce had become a national symbol of women's accomplishments and potential. Not content with her achievements, she was always eager to consider new topics, to test new hypotheses, and to encourage other women to achieve their own potential.

Characteristically, she declined to restrict her vision to the fields in which she had established her reputation. Under the terms of her will, she chose instead to establish the legacy which is now known as the Clare Boothe Luce Fund. The fund benefits current and future generations of women who possess talent and ambition in areas in which they continue to be grossly underrepresented.

Shaping Careers

St. John’s University awarded Ms. Luce an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 1964. Ms. Luce designated St. John’s among the beneficiaries of the Clare Boothe Luce Fund.

With support from the fund, the University established the Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship Program for undergraduates; the Clare Boothe Luce Undergraduate Research Program, supporting summer research; the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Graduate Fellowship Program, supporting select master’s and doctoral degree programs; and the Clare Boothe Luce Professorship, which provides support for the first five years of a beginning tenure-track faculty appointment.

The CBL Graduate Fellowship program supports women who pursue a Ph.D. with a major in biology, or a M.S. degree with a major in chemistry, biology, or toxicology, at St. John’s. The objective of this program is to encourage women to prepare for careers in teaching and research in the sciences and technological fields.

Available Opportunities

Natalie Williams

Undergraduate Students

Clare Boothe Luce scholars will be chosen on the basis of their demonstrated record of achievement as well as their potential to make significant contributions when they have become established in their fields.

Female Student Laughing in Lab Coat

Clare Booth Luce Graduate Fellowship

With support from the Clare Boothe Luce Fund, as one of its directives, St. John's University has established the Clare Boothe Luce Fellowship to benefit recipients at the beginning of their graduate studies, when funds for independent research are rarely available. The objective of this program is to encourage women to prepare for careers in teaching and research in science and technological fields in which they have historically been underrepresented.

Clare Boothe Luce Success Stories

Natalie Williams

Natalie Williams

Senior Natalie Williams is the recipient of prestigious awards in Chemistry, but she also nurtures a passion for art and music that has led her to exciting career opportunities.

St. John's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Additional Information

In following the guidelines of the Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship, students who plan a career in the field of medicine or pharmaceutical sciences (including dentistry and physician assistant) are ineligible.

Women who are US citizens or US permanent residents, and have declared a major in one of the following fields, may apply: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science, Computer Science, Mathematics or Toxicology.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Graduation from an accredited public or private high school
  • United States citizen, or US permanent resident
  • 90 percent overall secondary school average or 87 percent overall secondary school average with a 90 percent average in science, mathematics, and computer science coursework
  • 1100 combined math and verbal score on the SAT examinations (24 on the ACT)
  • If currently a St. John’s student, must have a 3.5 overall grade point average (GPA) or a 3.25 GPA with a 3.5 GPA in all mathematics, science, and computer science courses

St. John’s University currently has seven undergraduate CBL scholars, one undergraduate summer research scholar, four graduate fellows and two newly appointed CBL professors for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Undergraduate Scholars

Alexis Adams
Mathematics Major

Aniqa Akhter
Biological Sciences 

Kaitlyn Anderson
Computer Science Major

Elizabeth Chu
Biological Sciences Major

Julie Liu

Julianna LoMonte

Megan Syrbe
Computer Science Major 

Undergraduate Summer Research Scholar

Julie Liu

Graduate Fellows

Theresa Mustacchio
Pursuing a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences

Grace LaMalva
Pursuing a M.S. in Computer Science/Cybersecurity

Ana Osorio-Alvarado
Pursuing a M.S. in Data Science

Maleka Stewart
Pursuing a M.S. in Toxicology

Gina M. Florio, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Chemistry and Physics
Research Interests: Fundamental physics and chemistry of interfacial systems, with particular emphasis on those occurring between organic molecules and metal or semimetal surfaces at the nanometer scale.

Elise Megehee, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Chemistry
Research Interests: A focus on the fundamental research of osmium and ruthenium complexes that have the potential for use in 1) converting sunlight into chemical energy or electricity and 2) detecting DNA and small anions as sensors.

Laura Schramm, Ph.D.
Professor, Biological Sciences
Research Interests: Regulation of RNA polymerase III transcription in breast and prostate cancer by the polyphenols EGCG (green tea), resveratrol (red wine), and genistein (soy).

Christina Schweikert, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Science
Research Interests: Data Mining and Analytics Knowledge Representation Biomedical and Healthcare Informatics

Erica Jacobs, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Chemistry
Research Interests: Dr. Jacobs is a biochemist who specializes in the development and use of proteomic tools, including mass spectrometry to study complex biological systems. 

Zehra Cevher, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Physics
Research Interests: Dr. Cevher is an experimental physicist who specializes in the fabrication and optical and electronic characterization of novel thin-film and quantum dot materials for energy production, utilization, and storage. 


women in STEM at St. John’s University have been supported by the Clare Boothe Luce program since 1989


undergraduate scholarships


graduate fellowships


undergraduate research awards



Contact Information

St. John’s University
The Women in Science Program
Newman Hall, Room 106
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, NY 11439

Joan E. DeBello
[email protected]