Yale University is honored to announce that it has established the Michele Dufault Endowment for Yale Women in Science. The $14 million fund, designated by the Yale Corporation within the University Endowment, has been named in memory of Michele Dufault, a Yale College senior who died in 2011 in a tragic accident at Sterling Chemistry Laboratory, while pursuing her dreams as a Yale woman scientist.
In announcing the University’s decision, Yale President Richard C. Levin stated, “No one better exemplified the intellectual drive, curiosity, talent, and energy of young women who will become leaders in science than Michele Dufault. Michele, a double major in physics and astronomy, was an evangelist for physics and for women in science, an explorer of ideas, a talented researcher and a leader of formidable capacity. She also was an accomplished saxophonist, a tireless organizer of events and programs and a mentor and source of inspiration to her many friends. Her teachers and peers are unanimous in their certainty that her gifts and contributions in science, technology, and innovation would have changed the world.”
The Michele Dufault Endowment will continue in perpetuity, and its income will be applied to benefit women pursuing study at Yale in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (the “STEM” fields). The endowment will fund undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships to women studying at Yale, who will be known as Michele Dufault Scholars, as well as summer undergraduate research opportunities; Yale-sponsored conferences and workshops designed to encourage women to pursue study of STEM disciplines; travel for students to attend other such conferences; and Yale-sponsored outreach programs intended to spark the interest of younger girls in STEM fields — girls who one day may follow in the academic and intellectual footsteps of Michele Dufault.
In overseeing the fund, Yale’s provost will be advised by a committee appointed by the University’s president, which will include Michele’s parents, Diane and Robert Dufault, who are committed to seeing their daughter’s dreams live on. Fellow committee members will include the associate dean of science education in Yale College, the associate dean of the Graduate School for science and engineering, and two members of the University’s science, engineering, or mathematics faculties.