This award is given in fond memory of Nellie Whetten, a CNF staff member from 1984 to 1987 who died March 24, 1989. This award recognizes outstanding young women in science and engineering whose research was conducted in the CNF, and whose work and professional lives exemplify Nellie's commitment to scientific excellence, interdisciplinary collaboration, professional and personal courtesy and exuberance for life.
In the words of her husband, Dr. Timothy Whetten, "The award should remind us to find out what it is like for people different from us to live and work in the same community. For men, to try to appreciate what it is like to be a woman scientist. For Caucasians, to try to feel what it is to be Asian or Black. For members of racial minorities and women, to try to understand what it is like to be a white male. And finally, the award should stimulate each of us to reach out and encourage women scientists who, like Nellie have the brilliance, stubbornness, and cheerfulness to succeed."