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ARCS of Success

Posted on Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chicago chapter of national ARCS® Foundation, Inc. marks 30 years of scholarship support to University of Chicago students in the sciences.

Pritzker School of Medicine fourth-year Emily Bethea wants to improve preventative care. She’s focused on colon cancer. To ensure that more patients are diagnosed before the disease has progressed to an incurable stage, she does research that charts the effectiveness of virtual colonoscopies.  

“This non-invasive outpatient procedure could be another venue for screening,” said Bethea, “possibly targeting the population of patients that may fear the optical or more invasive colonoscopy, but may agree to a virtual screening.” A first author on “Comparison of Polyp Size and Volume in CT Colonography: Implications for Follow Up CTC,” published in the American Journal of Roentgenology in 2009, she has been able to continue her research throughout her medical school career—in part because of a $10,000 scholar award she’s received for the past two years from the ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation, Inc.

An April 5 reception given by the University marked the 30th year that the Chicago chapter of the national organization has supported graduate students at the University of Chicago, including seven scholars in the 2010–11 academic year.

“The University is grateful to the members of the Chicago Chapter of the ARCS Foundation for their extraordinary dedication and generosity to our students over the past three decades,” said University Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum. “It is truly exceptional for a donor to provide such sustained support, yet the well-defined aims of the foundation remain vitally important today. From energy to climate change to health care, society’s greatest challenges require scientific understanding and new discoveries. The University is honored to have the ARCS Foundation as a partner in developing the scientific leaders of the twenty-first century.”

“The mission of ARCS is to advance science and technology in America,” said Sue Dindia, president of the ARCS Foundation Chicago Chapter, “and by awarding University of Chicago science scholars over $775,000 in the past 30 years, we believe we are investing in America’s future.”

Established in 1958, the ARCS Foundation is a 100-percent volunteer women’s organization with more than 1,600 women in 17 chapters across the United States. With administrative expenses covered by members’ dues, all of the funds raised go directly to scholar awards—more than $74 million has been awarded nationally to date.

“Science education in America is as important today as it was over 50 years ago when ARCS was founded,” Dindia said. “We look forward to partnering with the University for many years to come.”

Past University recipients of scholarships from the Chicago Chapter of ARCS ( include Holly J. Humphrey, MD’83, Pritzker’s dean for medical education, who received the award in 1982.

“Medical school has always been an expensive endeavor,” Humphrey says. “The scholarship helped me meet two goals simultaneously: one was to reduce my medical school bills and the second was to dedicate time to pursue an area of research in which I was interested.”

Bethea is equally grateful for her ARCS award: “I wanted to research a topic that readily correlated to patient practice and also focused on preventive care. It’s really nice to have the financial support, and the scholarship has connected me to a great group of women.”