Celebrating Women in Science
In 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote and propelled society towards progress in social and economic equality. In honor of this monumental 100-year anniversary, the College of Life Sciences is proud to showcase some of the women who have made valuable contributions to the life sciences. This is the first section of a two-part series celebrating history by honoring women who have greatly impacted the world.
- Developed BYU's undergraduate, master's, and doctorate athletic training programs.
- Ensured equal opportunities for female athletes and female athletic trainers.
- Was one of the first five women certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA).
- Was the first female athletic trainer at BYU.
When Earlene became full-time faculty at BYU, she was the only faculty member who had taped a female athlete' ankle.
Jane Cooke Wright
- Developed new ways to administer chemotherapy, including the methotrexate drug that continues to treat breast cancer today.
- Proved that nitrogen-mustard agents could treat previously incurable cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.
- Helped found the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
- Served in the President's Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke.
Jane was the highest-ranking African American woman at a medical institution and the first woman elected president of the New York Cancer Society.
Ayana Elizabeth Johnson
- Invented a fish trap that reduces by-catch, allowing the unmarketable species and juvenile fish to escape; she received the National Geographic Solution Search award for her intervention.
- Founded and served as CEO of Ocean Collective, a consulting firm that promotes using the ocean without abusing it.
- Co-created the Blue New DEal, a roadmap to include the ocean in climate policy.
- Worked for March for Science and created a coalition of over 300 organizations to support the role of science in policy making.
Ayana's favorite fish is the parrotfish
- Opened the Philadelphia Cooking School and served as director of the Philadelphia Chautauqua School of Domestic Science.
- Traveled across America during World War I to educate families on the importance of food conservation.
- Authored several cookbooks, including Vegetable Cookery and Meat Substitutes, that illustrates how to cook three meatless meals a day.
- Worked as an editor for Ladies Home Journal, Table Talk, and Household News.
Sarah's notoriety led to a name drop in the Broadway musical Sitting Pretty.
- Served on the front lines of Yemen's cholera epidemic by caring for patients both inside and outside the hospital boundaries.
- Worked without pay to care for children while the hospital was under attack.
- Designated a section of the ER specifically to treat the countless children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
- Revived the hospital and replenished resources by connecting with fellow alumni who had the means to help.
The World Health Assembly honored Najla as a Heroine of Health
- Identified 500 new plant specimens during one of her first collection trips in Mexico.
- Has 50 new plants specimens named after her including Mimosa mexiae.
- Collected 145,000 plant species in South America, Central America, and Alaska.
- Clarified botanical records and introduced new species to the world.
On a collection trip in Mexico, Ynes fell off a cliff and injured her hand, but she still continued working, resulting in the discovery of several new species.
- Introduced the use of agar-agar to cultivate bacteria cultures.
- Unlocked the door to a new age rapid advancements in bacteriology.
- Helped identify the bacteria that caused tuberculosis
Virginia graduated fourth in her class from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Illustrations by Emily Tribe