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August 6, 2002

Electronic newsroom



Queens College Student Wins Chasman Scholarship

UPTON, NY — Tamara Blain, a Queens College student who had once suffered from a deep depression that led to her being homeless, has won the 2002 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.

Brookhaven Women in Science Scholarship Coordinators Loralie Smart (left) and Patricia Williams present Tamara Blain (center) with the Chasman Scholarship. > Download 300dpi hi-res photo.

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.

After earning a B.S. in biochemistry at Stony Brook University in 1995, Blain suffered a series of traumatic experiences that left her severely depressed. Blain explained, “My self-esteem was extremely low as I took odd jobs and stayed with friends, often finding myself homeless. One winter I began staying overnight at Kinko’s, as it was open 24 hours and was a respite from the cold. There I made friends who allowed me to use the computers free of charge at nights. As a result, I taught myself several graphic design programs and began to work freelance as a graphic designer. Thus began my love affair with computers.”

Between 1996 and 2001, Blain pursued several career paths. She was a freelance Web developer at and a freelance graphic designer. Also, she had worked as a computer services consultant at Kinko’s, an intern at Sensenet, Inc., and a Web developer at Concrete Media, Inc.

In 1997, Blain enrolled at Lehman College as a computer science major, and, in 1998, she transferred to City College. Today, she is continuing her studies at Queens College, where she is also a research assistant, and she expects to graduate with a B.S. in computer science in December. She plans to go on to earn a Ph.D. and teach computer science at the university level. She also would like to shape undergraduate curricula and write texts on specialized computer science topics. In addition, she wants to apply her computer knowledge and amateur inventor ability to the field of robotics in medical science, or to collaborate on biotechnology or nanotechnology projects.

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.