October 4, 1957 was a game-changer. On that date, Russia launched Sputnik, a 183- pound spaceship, roughly the size of a beach ball, into space. This surprise launch shocked the United States and forced it to rethink its place as the technological leader of the world. It also ushered in the Space Age and the Cold War. The Russian action touched all areas of America, including politics, patriotism, science, the military, and education. In response, the U.S. undertook an unprecedented push to educate Americans in science and math.
As part of that initiative, a group of women in Los Angeles saw the opportunity to make a difference by creating a partnership between science and society. Their goal was to re-establish and re-energize the technological superiority of the United States. They started the first ARCS Foundation chapter in September 1958. ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization founded and administered by women who support American leadership and aid advancement in science and technology.
In 1985, four San Diego women followed their lead and established ARCS Foundation San Diego. We are committed to scientific advancement in STEM areas: science, technology, engineering, and math. Our mission is to address the country’s need for scientists and engineers by providing unrestricted funding to help our country’s brightest U.S. graduate Scholars. We sponsor talented, motivated American students at top research universities in San Diego. Our Scholars are undertaking research creating new knowledge and innovative technologies necessary to compete in today’s global economy. The ARCS Scholars we support inspire us and underscore a bright future for America.