Mary Caswell Stoddard, a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows and member of the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, is one of three U.S.-based women scientists who will be recognized in Paris on March 18 as International Rising Talents for their ongoing and exceptional contributions to the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Stoddard uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore the evolution and engineering of bird eggs, leading to new discoveries about material science, biodiversity and the environment. She combines tools from computer science, genomics, and bioengineering to address questions about the evolutionary history of birds. Her work has implications for the future: understanding avian eggs could help prevent the loss of biodiversity and protect bird populations threatened by climate change. Stoddard completed her Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Cambridge and has worked with the BBC One Show, the Natural History Museum (UK), and the Harvard Museum of Natural History to make her work accessible outside the academic sphere. Throughout her career, she has also served as a mentor to young women in science; she used part of her 2013 L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship to support undergraduate student research in her field and currently mentors female graduate students at Harvard.
The International Rising Talents were chosen from among the recent winners of the more than 236 For Women in Science fellowships awarded locally by L’Oréal subsidiaries worldwide, including the L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship program.
In addition to grants of 15,000 euros each, the female scientists being recognized through the International Rising Talents award will receive special mentorship and training from other top L’Oréal-UNESCO female scientists.