UR professor Maquat receives Athena Award

By SMRITI JACOB - 1/16/2014 4:30:20 PM

University of Rochester scientist Lynne Maquat was named the 2014 Athena Award recipient at a luncheon Thursday.

A research pioneer, Maquat is a professor of microbiology and biophysics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where she holds the J. Lowell Orbison endowed chair.

Given by the Women's Council, an affiliate of Rochester Business Alliance Inc., the Athena Award recognizes women who best reflect the values of business achievement and community service. These women also support others in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

It is the 28th year for the Rochester award program. More than 800 people attended the event that honored the finalists at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Accepting the award, Maquat, who called the 2014 Athena Award finalists an amazing group of accomplished women, made it a point to acknowledge the importance of science and funding of scientific endeavors.

Maquat’s leadership in science is not just related to her research and teaching skills. She was inducted in 2011 into the National Academy of Sciences, an elite society of 2,600 scientists, including Nobel laureates. She also is known for her efforts to advance women in the sciences.

Through the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Graduate Women in Science program, which she founded in 2003 and currently leads, Maquat has helped several women pursue careers in science. Today, she noted how very few women who have a Ph.D. degree in science use it.

In a spin on a Willie Nelson song, Maquat closed her acceptance speech urging: “Mamas (and Papas), do let your babies grow up to be scientists.”

The other 2014 finalists were:

Last January, Monroe Community College President Anne Kress was named the 2013 Athena Award.

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