Mary Ann Evans, Program for Women in Science and Engineering, (515) 294-5883
Thomas Mitchell, ISU Foundation, (515) 294-6655
Skip Derra, ISU News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- A $16,000 gift from Harold and Janice Crowe, Cedar Falls, will establish a scholarship endowment at Iowa State in memory of their daughter, Laurel Ann, who died in 1998 from breast cancer. The Crowes designated the scholarship for the Program for Women in Science and Engineering, to honor their daughter's perseverance that made her one of the earliest female graduates of ISU's computer engineering program.

"Laurel always encouraged her friends to think about engineering when they didn’t know what they wanted to major in," said Laurel’s mother, Janice. "We established the scholarship to encourage other young women to explore engineering fields as well as to help those already studying in the field."

Laurel Crowe, a 1979 Cedar Falls High School graduate, followed in the footsteps of her father and brother, both ISU mechanical engineering graduates, when she chose to attend ISU and major in engineering. In 1984, she became the 32nd woman to graduate from the electrical and computer engineering program.

"Earning that engineering degree was not an easy feat for Laurel, and I remember several calls she made when facing tough finals," said Janice Crowe. "We talked a lot about her academic challenges, but she was determined to succeed in this program and enter this profession."

Through the scholarship, the Crowes hope to make it easier for students to focus more on their studies and less on their college financial burden. "We've always felt that Iowa State is our family school and with this scholarship, we can support a program our daughter felt very passionately about," said Janice Crowe.

"The courage Laurel Crowe exhibited throughout her life is now embodied in this endowment, which will help encourage other women to try and break into the nontraditional fields of science and engineering," said Mary Ann Evans, director of the program.

The first Laurel Crowe scholarship has been awarded to Elizabeth Schmerr, a mechanical engineering student from Woodward, Iowa, Evans said.

The Program for Women in Science and Engineering has helped to increase the number of women majoring and working in science, engineering, and other technical fields at Iowa State. Since PWSE began in 1987, enrollment of undergraduate women in these fields has increased 45 percent and graduate female enrollment has increased 39 percent.

"The Laurel Ann Crowe Scholarship is very special as it is one of the first endowed scholarships started by an individual for this highly successful Iowa State program," said Tom Mitchell, ISU Foundation president. "Many of the program's current scholarships are funded by corporations and have to be renewed each year. Because it is endowed, the Crowe scholarship provides a permanent source of scholarship income for the program."

The Laurel Ann Crowe Memorial Scholarship supports the ISU Foundation's Campaign Destiny: To Become the Best, the largest private fund-raising campaign in ISU history. The $425-million initiative is scheduled to conclude in June 2000.
- 30 -
Iowa State homepage

University Relations, online@iastate.edu
Copyright © 1999, Iowa State University, all rights reserved