The Opportunity to Succeed Should be Available to Everyone
Alumni Dan and Leah Frye Help Support the Next Generation of Scientists
It was their ability to work in labs as undergraduates that Dan and Leah Frye ’79 credit with helping them elevate their careers when they left the University of Idaho.
“The faculty spend one-on-one time with you,” Dan said. “That isn’t something that you find at larger, more well-known schools.”
Dan was able to study neutron activation analysis with Physics Department Chair Henry Willmes during his time in Moscow. Leah studied chemistry, and her undergraduate research was a combination of organic and inorganic synthesis. She worked with Professor Jack Richman.
“We felt well-prepared,” Dan said.
The couple went on to graduate school and earned their doctorates from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. And while they were later surrounded there by students from schools with big names, “our education was of that same caliber,” he said.
They want to make sure today’s generation of Idaho students has that same experience.
Following successful careers — Dan retired as a vice president of IBM and Leah is a distinguished fellow in the drug discovery group at Schrodinger — the pair have established a scholarship for students who have done well in their studies and could use a boost.
Establishing the Daniel and Leah Frye Chemistry and Physics Scholarship for students from underrepresented groups is a way to give back to U of I for the foundational education they received four decades ago. The most recent recipient is sophomore chemistry major Rachel Casiano of Boise.
“For us, this scholarship is about letting other people have the same opportunity to succeed in life that we have had,” Leah said.
The Oregon couple not only want to help fill the diversity gap in STEM fields, but help promote those fields in science, technology, engineering and math for Idaho’s workforce — drawn primarily from residents of the Gem State.
“We don’t have enough people in STEM at the professional level for either academia or industry,” Dan said. “And supporting diversity during the education process is a good way of increasing the potential pool of professionals.”
For us, this scholarship is about letting other people have the same opportunity to succeed in life that we have had. Leah Frye
Article by Christi Stone, College of Science
Published in the fall 2019 issue of Here We Have Idaho.