The University of Richmond awarded third-year student Colleen Labutta, ’11, the University of Richmond’s third and final Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship, which will cover the cost of Labutta’s tuition, room and board for the remainder of her Richmond education.
The Henry Luce Foundation offers financial support to colleges and universities that in turn award the Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship to female students majoring in computer science, mathematics or physics. The program is the single most significant source of private support for women in science, engineering and mathematics and is designed to promote the advancement of American women through higher education.
The scholarship is named for the widow of Henry R. Luce, Clare Boothe Luce, a playwright, journalist, U.S. Ambassador to Italy and the first woman elected to Congress from Connecticut.
To be eligible for the award, students must be female United States citizens majoring in computer science, mathematics or physics and have an interest in pursuing a graduate degree in the sciences, mathematics or computer science. A committee of five female professors, representing the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science and chemistry, reviews applications. In addition to receiving tuition, room and board for two academic years, recipients also receive funding to participate in a summer undergraduate research experience on campus.
Richmond has made a total of three Clare Boothe Luce Scholarship awards over the course of three years. In 2008 the award was presented to Erin Brady, ’10, a math and computer science student. Labutta’s award was the last in the series to be presented.
The University of Richmond was selected by the Henry W. Luce Foundation to bestow a series of the same scholarships in the 1990s; one went to mathematics major Sarah Spence Adams, ’97, who earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Cornell University. Adams is now an assistant professor of mathematics at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering and was a visiting professor at Richmond this past fall.
Labutta is a mathematics major and computer science minor. During the summer of 2008, Labutta participated in the ten-week LURE program (Long-term Undergraduate Research Experience), which provides first- and second-year students with the opportunity to complete mathematics research.
Labutta worked on a team with three other students under the direction of Dr. Lester Caudill. The undergraduate team did research in mathematical modeling, co-authoring a paper titled “Models of Antibiotic Resistance and Hospital-Acquired Infections.”
On campus Labutta is a member of Schola Cantorum, a small mixed choir, and the Delta Gamma sorority where she serves as the director of scholarship. She also volunteers as a Young Life leader at James River High School.
In the future, Labutta hopes to work for a scientific consulting firm or as an actuary.