Pittsburgh was the Silicon Valley of the 19th Century, a place where the industries that made America strong – glass, steel, aluminum – were born, nurtured and perfected. What made this possible was not only the intrepid spirit of entrepreneurial scientists but also the financial support of far-thinking local investors.
The Pittsburgh Chapter of the ARCS Foundation aims to continue this tradition of sustaining the best emerging scientists, by providing financial support to the most promising graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. Our members are, in an indirect but very real sense, “ground-floor investors” in the technologies that will strengthen our society in the generations to come.
Since our chapter’s founding in 2003, we have grown from a dedicated core of women, supporting a single scholar, to a vital group of nearly 120 members. We have provided three-year awards to 157 scholars. The aggregate of paid or pledged awards through 2023 totals over $2.2 Million, which includes $75,000 to be paid through the recently established CMU endowments.
As a chapter, however, we believe that our mission goes beyond mere check-writing. Our members also believe that advancing science in America requires us to support our scholars with more than just funding. A key emphasis of our initial membership was to introduce the scholars to opportunities in the Pittsburgh region and encouraging these brilliant young scientists to seek their fortune here (as our forebears did with such great success). It was hoped that their creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitudes would contribute to Pittsburgh’s continuing greatness. But we have come to realize that few scholars stay in the location where they received their degrees. So as they move through their careers, we will hope that our Pittsburgh ARCS scholars will encourage other promising young scientists to come to Pittsburgh to start their professional careers in a region that has transcended its industrial past, and that once again stands at America’s economic frontier. The smokestacks are gone, and Pittsburgh’s verdant hillsides and lush valleys now house leading innovators in computer software, health care, robotics, and green technology. We will take heart in knowing we have helped to launch a promising career and that ARCS members of the Pittsburgh Chapter helped by investing in a small bit of ground-breaking science, which may someday change the world.