Watch this space for updates on our progress, different projects, and any news related to the fellowship!

If you're interested in writing for the blog, contact merlyn [dot] deng [at] gmail [dot] com!


Yale Daily News coverage - 1 year anniversary

"A year after Michele Dufault ’11 died in a machine shop accident on campus, those who knew her are working to establish a foundation to promote women in the sciences." Yale Daily News (full link below)

"Bold, soft and humble" Yale Daily News (full link below) 

"Learning to Act" Yale Herald (full link below)


Digital scrapbook (1 year anniversary) submissions requested!


Nearly a year has gone by since Michele passed away, and a few of us are collaborating on a project to collect her best and most inspiring moments to share with each other and Michele's family. We would love for you to participate and to spread the word. 

If you'd like to contribute, please e-mail Merlyn by April 4th with a few memories of Michele. Contributions can be e-mails, stories, Youtube clips, comics, music, text messages, or anything else you'd like to share. Below is a sample entry for the scrapbook as an example of what types of messages you might use and how you might write about them. (Datelines for emails don't appear in the example but please include them.)  Include any "Michele'isms" you like, and feel free to email me with any questions. 

Furthermore, we have started compiling a few of people's public submissions on Pinterest ( to give you an idea of what we hope the scrapbook will look like. As you can see, we will likely convert text messages into images ( for viewing. If you would like your submissions to remain private among Michele's friends and family, please note it in your submission.

Lastly, for inspiration, here's a short video that Michele -- our exceptional friend, voracious NYTimes reader, and Youtube addict -- would send out during finals week: 40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 minutes. It always did the trick.


Dear suite,

I would like to formally request one of two things:

1. We all become boys


2. We shave off our hair. No one has hair more than 2 inches long.


Michele probably wrote this after sweeping the bathroom floor in our junior year suite, a duty she regularly assumed. She was always cheerful about and dismissive of the burdens we placed on her. Somehow--between the obscene hour that her alarm clock rattled her out of bed and into the dining hall for her customary coffee and granola, and the late hour that she returned to the suite, her gigantic backpack stuffed with the evidence of classes, meetings, and projects--she managed to clean up after and care for the rest of us. Studying into the night, she let concern for our productivity interrupt hers: sharing songs and YouTube clips as mini study breaks, offering to brew us mugs of tea. So many times, she dropped her reading response or problem set to help me phrase an email or talk through an idea, claiming, "I want an excuse not to work!" (a statement I would believe coming from any college student except her). Both her workload and her dedication were stunning, but she was never too busy to keep the rest of us running smoothly.

And this video: just couldn't have come from anyone but her.


Pinterest and Michele memories

We are just a few weeks shy of the first year anniversary of Michele's passing. It's around this time that a lot of us have been going through our old e-mails and favorite youtube videos. It's surprising how quickly time has gone by.

A few of us are working on a digital scrapbook: a compliation of different media we dug up from the depths of our inboxes and browsing histories to share with Michele's friends and family. We invite you to join us on Pinterest to pin up images, comics, and youtube videos that remind you of Michele. Check us out here.

If you are interested in contributing your memories, please e-mail Merlyn to be invited to the project.



Buy origami, support our Fund!

Walt Whitman high school student Lisa Deng has pledged 50% of her origami proceeds (sold on Etsy) to support Michele's Fund. If you like beautiful ornaments and supporting women in science, check out Lisa's Etsy shop!

If you want to do your part too, check us out!

Blue Green Ornament for Michele's Fund!Blue roses bouquet

Rainbow cranes!


Women's History Month!

March is Women's month, a time to celebrate and reflect on women's accomplishments and future challenges. It's no surprise that the Obama administration has been focused on education in the last few years; in particular, the U.S. is worried that we are falling behind in STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math).

The numbers aren't pretty for the girls, and studies have confirmed it. In spite of efforts to increase and recognize women in these fields, why is it that only 22% of Physics Bachelors' degrees are awarded to women? A part of the answer is in exposing women to research opportunities early on in college, and letting them know that the resources are there.

Michele understood these issues intimately, which is why she helped out with GSI on her weekends and organized NCUWP. Even though Michele was a champion for women in science (and contributing her personal computing power to the search for aliens), something you didn't know about her is that Michele thought that no one would want to fund her as a sophomore (juniors and seniors usually have first dibs on National Science Foundation grants). She eventually did find funding, advisors, and went on to fly in Zero G for a NASA experiment.

This is where Michele's fund comes in, and where you can help. E-mail us. Donate. So we can change this reality.