Press Release: Battelle donates $20,000 to help women secure STEM careers

Athens, Ga. – Helping to fill the shortage of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), the Atlanta branch of Battelle awarded a $20,000 grant to Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund. It will provide scholarships and support to eight low-income women 35 and older who are currently pursuing their degrees and plan to enter the workforce in a STEM field.

The women will receive $2,000 each toward their technical and undergraduate programs. Battelle has provided a total of 30 Jeannette Rankin Fund scholarships from 2008-2015, helping women enter a variety of STEM careers.

Rhonda Suka, a former a Battelle Award recipient, graduated with her master’s degree in Geography and is now working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Rhonda is part of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division. She participated in several research projects and recently helped map sea floors around Mo’orea and O’ahu.

“I was working at a hotel aquarium at the top limits of position and earning potential. Now I am in a position with unlimited upward movement and earning potential,” Rhonda says.

Cheryl Jackson, another Battelle recipient, is a Process Line Manager at Kellogg where she leads 14 supervisors who each manage six to eight other workers. Cheryl earned her bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Once her children graduate high school, she plans to return to school to earn her doctorate.

“I cannot tell you what it means to not have to fill out the free lunch form for my children or worry about how I am going to pay the electric bill and buy the supplies my children need for a school project,” Cheryl says. “Our lives have been forever changed and it is a direct result of the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund.”

“Battelle’s generous gift to Jeannette Rankin Fund will have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of the women we serve. The U.S. has an urgent and growing need for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and thanks to Battelle, women will build futures in these fields,” Sue Lawrence, executive director of Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund, said.

Frank Pasztor, Regional Manager for Battelle, met Cheryl at a Jeannette Rankin event. He responded, “Battelle’s mission includes a strong commitment to STEM education programs, and we’re pleased to support the Jeannette Rankin program and highly motivated women like Cheryl.”

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund was founded in 1976 and provides scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older to build better lives through college completion. Awards may be renewed for up to five years, so a woman can receive up to $10,000. Jeannette Rankin scholars come from diverse backgrounds, yet they are united in their desire to break the cycle of poverty, better provide for their families and give back to their communities. To learn more about Jeannette Rankin Fund, visit

Battelle is the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, with over 22,000 employees at more than 130 locations globally. A 501(c)(3) charitable trust, Battelle was founded on industrialist Gordon Battelle’s vision that business and scientific interests can go hand-in-hand as forces for positive change. Today, Battelle manages the world’s leading national laboratories and maintains a contract research portfolio spanning consumer and industrial, energy and environment, health and pharmaceutical and national security. To learn more about Battelle, visit