BHM Women in STEM: Marie Daly
It's always an amazing thing to find black women doing amazing things in STEM fields because it's not regularly recognized. Since I'm pursuing my Ph.D. it's only appropriate that I acknowledge the FIRST black woman to do it, Marie Daly.
Marie was born in Queens and is a biochemist by trade. She started her journey at Hunter College High School, which was an all girls school and did her undergrad work at Queens College. Daly graduated in 1942, magma cum lade, with a BS in chemistry and was also named a Queens College Scholar, which is awarded only to the top 2% percent of the class. By 1943, Daly completed her Master's in chemistry at NYU, while working as a lab assistant at her alma mater. She enrolled at Columbia for her Ph.D, where she worked to study how chemicals produced in the body aid in digestion under Dr. Mary Caldwell. She became the first black woman to get her doctorate degree in chemistry in the US in 1947.
Daly also worked at Howard University as a physical science professor while she was conducting research. The American Cancer Society funded her postdoctoral research where she worked at the Rockerfeller Institute studying cell nuclei. In 1955, she returned to Columbia to study hypertension and aging and how that affected the metabolism of the heart. Her CV is extensive and impressive, including positions like associate professor at Yeshiva University, serving as an investigator for the American Heart Association, and being on the board of governors of the New York Academy of Sciences, to name a few.
Besides her being all types of #BlackGirlMagic in the classroom, she lived to serve others as well. In 1988, Marie created a scholarship for African American chemistry and physics students at Queens College. She also devoted her life to get students of color into medical schools and graduate programs.
Marie Daly passed on October 28, 2003, but her legacy is a lesson to us all, especially to me. It's admirable she did ALL of this work during her 82 years of life. It's women like her that are inspirations to keep pushing forward to reach our goals and to always look back and help those you can.
To those reading this, I encourage you to use any platform you have to make a difference, no matter how big or how small. You never know who can benefit from it or who you can inspire.