College of Arts and Sciences

Paul and Susan Buta '84

When Western Illinois University alumna Susan Buta '84 heard about the new Women in Science (WIS) program being developed at Western, memories of her own decision to study chemistry came back to her.

"'Well that's interesting,' is the surprised and lukewarm response I received from my high school guidance counselor. It was underwhelming when I declared my interest in studying chemistry in college," said Buta. "Why not? I was in the honors program. I craved to understand why my finger would pass through water but not my wooden desk. I liked math. Why not me in science?"

Buta said she is glad she had the independent mindset to pursue her fascination of nature through a chemistry degree.Susan and Paul Buta

"Those interests led to an enjoyable and diverse career in chemistry and chemistry-related fields," she said. "Through my WIU American Chemical Society Certified chemistry degree, I was fully prepared for all my opportunities in industry, basic research, new product development, teaching, and now owning my own company. Still, I was an undergraduate woman in science, and there were challenges that caused me to doubt my choice. In many instances, it was only my own determination that kept me moving forward in the face of difficulties. I was not alone. I was one of the only American women to earn a chemistry degree from Western in 1984"

Susan and Paul Buta have donated a lead gift of $10,000 to get the scholarship program started. They encourage other alumni and Women in Science to support the efforts to see more women pursue their interests in science and attain advanced degrees and careers in science.

"Of the many opportunities to support education, my husband, Paul, and I chose WIU's College of Arts and Sciences new Women in Science Program," said Susan, during a recent visit to WIU. "We were attracted to the program's core mission of support for young women pursuing science degrees that were unavailable in my collegiate career. We feel that our financial gift to this program will make more of a difference in the lives of students in comparison to other schools."

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