Oregon Chapter's History

Celebrating 15 Years of Supporting
Science Research in Oregon

A few bold and pioneering women recognized the potential of forming an ARCS Foundation Chapter in Portland in 2002. They set about launching the Oregon Chapter, dedicated to enhancing America’s national and local capacity for research and innovation in science and technology by financially assisting students who demonstrate high scholastic ability.

Organization of the Chapter began in late fall 2003 with a meeting at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). At that meeting, the ARCS Foundation National New Chapter Development Committee laid out the vision and work of ARCS Foundation to five Portland women, hoping to interest them in starting a chapter in Oregon.

Founding members Mary Ann Lockwood, Nancy Fischer, Cornelia Stevens, Ellen Richardson, and Sharon Hewitt enthusiastically committed to starting an ARCS Foundation Chapter in Oregon.

In December 2003 the first introductory tea was held in the Old Library at OHSU, where Judith Miller, ARCS Foundation national president; Peter Kohler, OHSU president; and an ARCS scholar from the Seattle Chapter spoke to a group of 50 women about the importance of ARCS Foundation to the future of science in America. The presentation was so powerful that membership grew from five to 45 women in one afternoon. Another tea followed in January 2004. In May, the Portland Chapter was incorporated and received its 501(c)(3) status from the State of Oregon. In June of that same year the chapter was chartered with 65 members. Sharon Hewitt was elected the first chapter president.

  • OHSU was approved for funding by ARCS National Foundation in October 2005, and the first scholar awards were granted to 11 PhD students in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and in the Oregon Graduate Institute.
  • In September 2008, with approval from ARCS Foundation National, PhD students in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University (OSU) began receiving scholar awards.
  • The OSU College of Forestry and College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences were approved for funding in October 2010.
  • The OSU College of Agricultural Sciences was approved in October 2013.
  • The OSU College of Science was approved in February 2014.  
  • In January 2015, ARCS Foundation National, approved the University of Oregon for funding. In November 2015 PhD students in the UO Department of Biology and the Department Chemistry received scholar awards.
  • OSU College of Pharmacology, Pharmaceutical Sciences and College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Geology were approved for funding in Janaury 2016.
  • ARCS Foundation Portland Chapter changed its name to ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter on May 11, 2016.

Since its inception, the Chapter has awarded a cumulative total of over $4.5 million to 274 scholars pursuing studies in science, engineering and medical research. Members continue to work to uphold America’s position as a world-class power in science.

Why Nancy Helped Found the Oregon Chapter
"I heard about ARCS from Seattle friends who were very excited about sharing the story of their chapter. The idea of being involved with an organization that provided financial support to outstanding graduate students in science and technology sounded very appealing to me. Connections were made with OHSU and five community volunteers came together to initiate the idea of forming an ARCS chapter in Oregon. With guidance from the Seattle ARCS members, we moved the idea forward. Soon, many energetic, dedicated women joined us. With hard work and great enthusiasm our chapter has grown to support scholars at OHSU, OSU and UO. Our chapter is a great example of what women can do when faced with the mission of providing much needed financial support for graduate students."
What Inspired Diane to Became a Charter Member of the Oregon Chapter?
"In 2004 one of the Founders of the Oregon Chapter explained what she and four other women hoped to start in Oregon and SW Washington. I was invited to a tea where women from the Seattle Chapter explained the ARCS Mission. I was immediately hooked on ARCS, its mission of supporting graduate level students, and the women involved . . . many of whom have become good friends! Being a member of ARCS has been more rewarding than I had ever anticipated."