$3 Million Donation Creates Andrews Family Fellows

Amelia Kunko (amkunko@ursinus.edu)

Dr. Arlene Andrews McLean ‘62, has pledged $3 million to establish the Andrews Family Fellows Fund. Thanks to the Andrews Family Fellows, STEM students pursuing advanced degrees will have the chance to partake in career-enhancing opportunities such as research. This fellowship honors McLean’s parents, who drove her love of learning. “It’s the Andrews Fellowship Fund, actually in memory of my parents who did not have college degrees, but spent their entire lives learning and instilled that in us kids,” she said.

McLean’s Ursinus experience had a significant influence on her career path, exposing her to a field of work that she grew to love. “My education at Ursinus did two things,” she said. “It broadened my interests, made me want to learn more about arts, languages, music, you name it,” she said. “As far as science goes, it focused me. I came into Ursinus as a physics major. So, a lot of physics, a lot of math. And then [I] took some biology courses, which I’d always liked. But it made me like biology even more.”

Post-Ursinus, McLean spent some time figuring out where she wanted to go in terms of her career path. “One of the reasons why I’m actually trying to focus on you folks now is that I meandered a little bit. I came out of Ursinus with a degree in biology, and looked around for a job, and found what I could get was a technician job.” Eventually, she headed back to school, receiving her PhD from Thomas Jefferson University. Her career has been full of exciting experiences, from working as a statistician at Merck, a pharmaceutical company, to speaking worldwide about the clinical trials of the Hepatitis B vaccine. “As opportunities presented themselves, I was willing to try,” McLean explained. 

The Andrews Family Fellows Fund will not only support students’ education and learning goals, but it will also relieve them of financial worries as they continue their education. “This gift will provide two opportunities: first, to allow students to be exposed to more student-faculty mentoring, research opportunities, travel to conferences, and other experiences that will put them solidly among the best prepared to enter stellar graduate programs in STEM,” said President Jill Marsteller ‘78. “Second, students will also have the tremendous opportunity to receive debt forgiveness once they complete their Ursinus degree, to help them persevere and earn their PhD.”  McLean has high hopes for STEM students here at Ursinus, and wants the Andrews Family Fellows to put students on the right track. “I hope it helps them to focus earlier than I did,” she said.

The Andrews Family Fellows Fund will build upon the academic opportunities already available at Ursinus. “Not only is Dr. McLean’s gift going to enhance the experience of the Andrews Fellows as Marsteller described, but it is providing an example of extending our already successful Summer Fellows program to include more support and mentoring,” explained Dean Mark Schneider. In addition, the Andrews Family Fellows may open the door for more fellowship opportunities in the future. We hope that this will encourage other donors to the college to consider gifts that allow us to extend these sorts of opportunities to students in other disciplines,” Schneider concluded.

“We are still working out details of the application process, but we will do this in coordination with the regular Summer Fellows applications, so applying to Summer Fellows will put students in consideration,” said Dean Mark Schneider. If you are interested in applying for the Andrews Family Fellows, be on the lookout for information in the coming weeks about the application process.