Oregon Chapter's History

Supporting Science Since 2004

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 $3.7 million to 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.