Indianapolis chemist wins national women's award

March 25, 2001

Chemist Christina Bodurow Erwin of Indianapolis, Ind., will be honored April 3 by the world's largest scientific society for providing motivation for women to choose scientific careers and the tools to develop them. She will receive the 2001 Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences from the American Chemical Society at its 221st national meeting in San Diego.

"Women bring an incredibly rich, largely untapped potential to science," said Bodurow Erwin, who heads the Prozac product team at Eli Lilly and Co. "Sometimes we tend to hang back, thinking if we work hard someone will recognize that and advance us.

"The reality of the world is that the scientists who communicate their work most effectively are the ones most likely to be recognized," added the organic chemist.

Thus three goals came to Bodurow Erwin's mind when asked what's important for women chemists: to attract them to the field, to ensure they develop cutting-edge skills, and to recognize them and their achievements.

Bodurow Erwin said her position at Eli Lilly has given her dexterity in helping women accomplish such goals.

"It's helped me learn the way business is conducted, to think about developing and integrating strategies, to get folks motivated and put plans in action," she explained. From 1995 through 1997, for example, she served as chairwoman of the ACS Committee of Women Chemists.

"The important thing is to get people to understand what women have to offer in chemistry," she said.

Two people influenced her own decision to become a chemist, said Bodurow Erwin. "My father noticed my aptitude in science and math at a very early age, and he continued to encourage me," she remembered. "I also had a chemistry teacher in high school who let me stay after and do organic chemistry experiments with him."

Bodurow Erwin received her undergraduate degree from Kalamazoo College in 1979 and her Ph.D. from Princeton in 1984. She is a member of the ACS organic and analytical divisions.
The ACS Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences is sponsored by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.

American Chemical Society

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