Thursday, November 13, 2014

Marie Maynard Daly-1st A.A Woman in U.S to Earn Ph.D in Chemistry

Marie Maynard Daly was an American biochemist. She was the 1st Caribbean American woman in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry (awarded by Columbia University in 1947). Daly was born and raised in Corona, Queens. She often visited her maternal grandparents in Washington, where she was able to read about scientists and their achievements in her grandfather’s extensive library. She was especially impressed by Paul de Kruif’s The Microbe Hunters, a work which partially influenced her decision to become a scientist. After Daly graduated from all-girls Hunter College High School (where she was also encouraged to pursue chemistry), she enrolled in Queens College, a small, fairly new school in Flushing, New York. She lived at a home to save money, majored in chemistry, and graduated from Queens magna cum laude with her bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1942.  She completed her masters in Chemistry in 1 year. She then enrolled in the doctoral program at Columbia University, where she was supervised by Dr. Mary L. Caldwell. Caldwell, who had a doctorate in nutrition, helped Daly discover how chemicals produced in the body contribute to food digestion. Daly completed her Ph.D. in chemistry in 1947.  She became a pioneer in studying the impact of cigarette smoking on the lungs. In 1988 she established a scholarship for African American chemistry and physics majors at Queens College in memory of her father.                                                                                                                                                       

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