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ARCS Foundation Introduces ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame

Posted on Thursday, May 7, 2015

Accomplishments of leading U.S. scientists illustrate the key role of ARCS funding

WASHINGTON DC, May 6, 2015 - ARCS Foundation (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation, Inc.), announced the ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame, honoring ARCS Scholar Alumni who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of science and U.S. competitiveness in STEM-based innovation.  Hall of Fame members are all past recipients of the highly regarded ARCS Foundation Scholar Award, a cash award given to the most promising students pursuing advanced degrees in STEM fields.

The inaugural honorees in the ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame are  Barbara Jacak, Ph.D., Ralph B. James, Ph.D., David Mangelsdorf, Ph.D. and noted author and science communicator Shannon Brownlee, M. Sc.

All have been selected based on demonstrated leadership in a number of areas, including: scientific innovation as evidenced by exceptional technical advancement, patents, and/or uniqueness of scientific findings, scientific discovery that has potential to improve lives and our economy and exemplary  inspiration and mentoring of future scientists to fill the STEM pipeline.

The launch of the ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame grants far higher visibility to the impact of the ARCS Scholar Award in invigorating U.S. competitiveness by ensuring the vitality of our nation’s STEM pipeline.

ARCS Foundation National President Nancy Spetzler says,

“ARCS Foundation is known for investing in the futures of brilliant young American scientists. The Hall of Fame is an opportunity to show the results of that investment. This year’s honorees include three leading research scientists and a distinguished science communicator. All are globally recognized at the top of their fields, and all note ARCS’s investment in their work as a key component of their journey to success. ARCS Awards have made a difference in the lives and careers of exceptional scientists, and have thereby contributed directly to the Advancement of Science in America.”

Hall of Fame honoree Barbara Jacak, Ph.D., Director of the Nuclear Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Faculty Senior Scientist at Berkeley Lab and professor of Physics at UC Berkeley  received her ARCS award in 1975 while studying at Berkeley. Her research has contributed significantly to our understanding of how the universe evolved. Jacak is a leading member of the collaboration that built and operates the PHENIX detector, one of the detectors at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider currently operating at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and she was involved in the discovery of the quark gluon plasma and its strongly coupled, liquid-like behavior. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; a Fellow of the American Physical Society; and has published more than 225 scientific papers.

Honoree Ralph B. James, Ph.D., expert on photoconduction at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, and 1979-1980 awardee while at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), is known for his groundbreaking research in photoconductive devices and materials science. Dr. James’ work has led to discoveries ranging from advances in photonic detectors to the emergence of improved semiconductors for astrophysics and medical imaging applications.  He has forged a substantial and lasting impact on the future of science as an inventor, an adviser to U.S. agencies, a scientific and engineering spokesperson, and a science diplomat. Dr. James has authored more than 550 scientific publications, served as editor of 25 books, and holds 21 patents.

Honoree David Mangelsdorf, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacology and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, received his ARCS Scholar Award in 1985 while studying at the University of Arizona.  His groundbreaking research on orphan receptors helped launch an entire field of biology, leading to important breakthroughs in treating conditions such as heart disease, cancer, infectious parasitic disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and gallstone disease.  Pursing his goal of developing transformative pharmaceuticals, Dr. Mangelsdorf’s award winning work  includes cloning the cellular receptor for vitamin D, which illuminated the genetic basis of osteoporosis and rickets, as well as co-founding a biotechnology firm. Focusing on the pathways that turn genes on and off, Dr. Mangelsdorf’s work and has led to new drug targets that might be used to battle metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, and obesity among many other conditions.

The Hall of Fame inaugural class also includes renowned science author and healthcare advocate Shannon Brownlee, whose transformative role in U.S. healthcare and public understanding of science and the policy it inspires won her the recognition of “one of four writers who changed the world” (World Congress of Science Journalists). Brownlee is best known for her groundbreaking work on overtreatment and the implications for health care policy. Her book, Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer, was named the best economics  book of 2007 by New York Times economics correspondent David Leonhardt. Brownlee received her ARCS Scholar Award at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1982.

ARCS Foundation plans to induct renowned alumni annually with a second selected class of honorees to be announced in early 2016. Besides honoring accomplished and internationally recognized U.S. scientists, the Hall of Fame underscores how important early stage support offered by ARCS Foundation has been to those pursuing careers in STEM.  Honoree Ralph B. James, Ph.D., notes

“ARCS played a pivotal role in my uninterrupted pursuit of a Ph.D. by contributing to my economic security while I attended school full-time and by boosting my confidence with the knowledge that a private foundation cared enough for me and my potential to provide this recognition.”

Nancy Spetzler states, “The ARCS award has made a meaningful difference in the lives and careers of so many scientists working at the frontiers of innovation. The evidence of ARCS’ impact on the advancement of science is powerful. We know that the ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame will strongly affirm how important it is to focus funding on STEM at the early stages.”

About ARCS® Foundation:  ARCS Foundation is a national nonprofit volunteer women’s organization that promotes American competitiveness by supporting talented U.S. citizens working to complete degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and health disciplines at 55 of the nation's leading research universities. Since 1958, the organization has awarded more than $91 million to more than 9,000 students. ARCS Scholars have produced thousands of research publications and patents, secured billions in grant funding, started science related companies, and played a significant role in teaching and mentoring young people in the STEM pipeline. More at

For more information contact:
Nancy Chambers, VP Communications, ARCS Foundation, 404-846-0401,