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Cheryl Mae Craft, Ph.D. Honored by the USC Keck School of Medicine

Posted on Monday, February 22, 2016

ARCS® Foundation chapter leader recognized for her leadership role in advancing science through funding for top U.S. scholars in STEM fields

ARTESIA, CA, February 22, 2016 - ARCS® Foundation (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation, Inc.) announced that Cheryl Mae Craft, Ph.D., was honored at the 10th annual USC Keck Scholarship Luncheon for her work as President of ARCS Foundation Los Angeles Chapter.

Recognizing Dr. Craft’s leadership, Henri Ford, MD, MHA, vice dean of educational affairs, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California (USC), noted that ARCS Foundation Scholar Awards are a core component of the Keck School’s commitment to ensure that talented students may pursue uninterrupted study in challenging medical research fields, regardless of financial background.

Since its founding in 1958, ARCS Foundation has provided cash awards to the most promising young U.S. scientists to ensure that they may successfully complete advanced degrees in STEM fields. The vast majority of ARCS Award recipients are pursuing degrees at the doctoral level. As government funding for basic research dwindles, the ARCS Foundation award fulfills an essential and under-served role in ensuring that junior scientists may have the opportunity to pursue their boldest ideas.

A longtime member of ARCS Foundation, Craft is delighted by how her roles as an established vision research  scientist and philanthropic leader ensuring the advancement of science meshed so ideally with her service in the ARCS Los Angeles presidency. She noted in her luncheon remarks that since its original founding, her chapter has donated more than $23 million to promising STEM scholars pursuing degrees at the advanced level.

2016 also promises to be a momentous year, said Craft. This year, ARCS Foundation’s combined chapters will surpass $100 million dollars awarded to promising future scientists in a breadth of fields at top-ranked STEM departments nationally.

Craft’s achievements within her ARCS service go beyond just fundraising. Several ARCS Scholar Award recipients at the recognition event joined in praise of the work of Dr. Craft and ARCS Foundation, noting that the ARCS award and the network it brings continue to provide immeasurable value.

Kristin Rand, PhD, an ARCS Foundation postdoctoral scholar at USC Norris Cancer Center, described Dr. Craft as “an amazing scientist and a truly inspiring woman who offers invaluable encouragement and mentoring to younger scientists.”  Dr. Rand shared,

“Dr. Craft has an impressive career, but what I want everyone to truly understand is the goodness of her character. She cares so much about science and particularly the younger scientists who have a similar passion to hers.”

ARCS Foundation National President Lynne Brickner, who is herself a former President of the Los Angeles chapter, adds,

“Congratulations to Cheryl Craft! It is wonderful to receive acknowledgement at the USC Keck Scholarship Luncheon that the support of ARCS Foundation, through the generous commitment of accomplished volunteer members like Dr. Craft, makes a strong and meaningful difference to students pursuing advanced degrees in STEM fields. Supporting science scholars is essential to our nation’s leadership in discovery and innovation.”

About Dr. Cheryl M. Craft:

Currently, at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Dr. Craft is a tenured Professor in Ophthalmology and Cell and Neurobiology and served as the inaugural Chairman (1994-2004), and is the founding director of the USC Postdoctoral Scholar Program. She is the inaugural Mary D. Allen Chair in Vision Research, Doheny Eye Institute. Also, she was founding Co-Director of the USC Neurological Institute, and was an integral team leader in the creation of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute. Her current research program focuses on understanding the genes expressed in the eye and pineal gland that interact with the environment for normal high acuity vision to occur.  Dr. Craft is President of ARCS Foundation Los Angeles Chapter and a member of its national board of directors.

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 the nation's leading research colleges and universities. Since 1958, the organization has awarded more than $96 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