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August 28, 2001

North Massapequa Resident Wins Chasman Scholarship

Upton, NY - Gerda Oruci, a native of Albania who moved to the U.S. in 1998, has won the 2001 Renate W. Chasman Scholarship for Women. Brookhaven Women in Science (BWIS), a not-for-profit organization at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, awards the scholarship annually to encourage women to pursue careers in science, engineering or mathematics.

Gerda Oruci (right) and Pam Mansfield, chair of the Brookhaven Women in Science scholarship committee, display the Chasma Scholarship certificate that was given to Oruci at a reception that was held at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Named after the late Renate Chasman, a renowned physicist who worked at Brookhaven, the $2,000 scholarship is awarded each year to a re-entry woman - one whose college education was interrupted, but who has returned to pursue a degree on a half-time or greater basis.

Oruci, who wants to become a mathematician for a large corporation or teach mathematics and statistics at the college level, said her education was interrupted because the Communist regime in Albania would not allow her to attend graduate school. "In Albania, graduate school was a privilege that was enjoyed only by the children of communists," she explained. Oruci earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Tirana in Albania in 1988. During the next four years, she taught mathematics at the high-school level. She returned to the university to study economics, from 1992-1994, and, when hampered from attaining a graduate degree, she went back to teaching, from 1995-1998.

Oruci then came to the U.S. seeking greater educational and career opportunities. With the help of her relatives in the U.S., she enrolled as a full-time student at the Bramson ORT College in Forest Hills, New York, where she studied accounting. In 1999, she became a tutor at the college. In 2000, she continued her studies in mathematics on a part-time basis at Hunter College, and, in January 2001, she transferred to Columbia University, where she hopes to earn a master's degree in statistics in 2002. She said her dream is becoming a reality in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies. Brookhaven also builds and operates major facilities available to university, industrial, and government scientists. The Laboratory is managed by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited liability company founded by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization.