Interviews by Topic: Women in Science

In this interview, Dr. Sarah Fox, gynecologist, Clinical Assistant Professor at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, and member of the Brown University class of 1989, discusses the challenges and changes she faced as a women’s health provider during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

50th Reunion, class of 1969

This interview with members of the Pembroke College class of 1969 documents the undergraduate experiences of Kathryn H. Au, Rita Ann Chao, Maria Garcia, Kathryn Troyer, and Lucy Jane Wollaeger, at their 50th reunion.

Alpha Kappa Alpha, class of 1976-1977

In this interview recorded during the 2018 Black Alumni Reunion, Arlean Leland and Lavdena Adams Orr, class of 1976, and Robyn Jones and Patricia Darlene Elliot, class of 1977, discuss their membership in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and how it impacted their lives during and after their time at Brown.

Anna C. Renzi, class of 1947

In her interview, Anna C.

Anne Fausto-Sterling, Faculty

An assistant professor of Anthropology and the only woman in her department when she was hired in 1968, Louise Lamphere was denied tenure in 1974. The Anthropology Department claimed that her scholarship was theoretically weak. Lamphere claimed she was the victim of sex discrimination and argued that the small number of women on the Brown faculty was evidence of a larger pattern of discrimination. After unsuccessfully pursuing an internal appeals process, on May 10, 1975 Lamphere filed a lawsuit in United States District Court.

Barbara E. Ehrlich, class of 1974

This interview was donated to the Pembroke Center Oral History Project by Lily Cohen, class of 2012. Cohen conducted an interview with her mother, Barbara E. Ehrlich, class of 1974, to discuss the history and future of women in science. At the time of the interview in 2017, Cohen was a scientist at University of Alaska – Fairbanks and Ehrlich was Professor of Pharmacology and of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale University. Cohen was considering leaving the sciences because of glaring gender inequities.

Christina Smith, staff

In this interview, Christina Smith, Associate Director for Undergraduate STEM Development at the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University, shares her experiences as a scholar and member of Navajo Nation during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Delores A. Bennett, class of 1997

In this interview conducted as a result of the 2018 all-class Black Alumni Reunion, Delores A. Bennett, Brown University class of 1997, discusses her path to becoming Vice President of Cloud Sales at Oracle.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, class of 1979

In this interview recorded during the 2018 Black Alumni Reunion, Teresa Cheeks, Renee Hill, and Lori Hollins, members of the Brown University class of 1979, discuss their membership in the historically Black Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and how it impacted their lives during and after their time at Brown.

Esther Amelia Dick, class of 1934

Esther Amelia Dick begins this interview by speaking of her childhood in Reading, PA and struggling with Meniere's Syndrome. She recalls her reasons for attending Pembroke College and discusses campus rules, requirements, clothing standards, alcohol and smoking restrictions, and access to the Brown campus. She gives her opinions of several professors and talks about being deeply affected by the Great Depression and, as a result, cooking all her meals in the science labs.

Helen Elizabeth Butts, class of 1928

In this interview, Helen Elizabeth Butts starts by discussing life at Pembroke College, the academic arena, Silver Bay (a Christian summer conference), higher-level science classes, post-graduate life, and the career/family dichotomy. She goes on to talk about her experience with Dean Margaret Shove Morriss, marriage ideals, and transition to computer usage. Butts finishes the interview by sharing her opinions on graduate school, housewives, and feminism.

Helen FitzGerald Cserr, Faculty

This interview was conducted with Ruth Cserr on behalf of her mother Helen FitzGerald Cserr who was a professor of biomedical sciences at Brown University and who was one of four plaintiffs in the Louise Lamphere vs Brown University sex discrimination lawsuit.

Ingrid Rodi, class of 1976, MD ’79

In this interview, Ingrid Rodi, Brown University class of 1976, MD ’79, discusses the ways that the COVID-19 global pandemic impacted her work as an infertility specialist and reproductive endocrinologist.

 

Jessica U. Meir, class of 1999

In this interview, Astronaut Jessica Meir, Brown University class of 1999, discusses her experiences as an undergraduate student at Brown, the steps she took to become a NASA Astronaut, and her life and work completing a mission on the International Space Station.

Karona Monica Mason, class of 1982

In this interview recorded during the 2018 All-class Black Alumni Reunion, Karona Monica Mason, Brown University class of 1982, discusses her experiences as a student on the Brown University campus. Mason begins by describing her childhood and early education in Washington, D.C. She emphasizes always having Black role models, including her mother and father who worked for the federal government and Howard University respectively.

Mary Carpenter Emerson, class of 1927

In this interview, Mary Carpenter Emerson tells of her family’s tradition of attending Brown University, which included her mother, her maternal uncles and her maternal grandfather. Like her mother, Emerson became a science teacher, teaching biology, geometry, general science, chemistry and physics. She speaks of her early life: losing her father at age 11 while living in Louisiana, then moving with her mother to Rhode Island to be close to her mother’s family.

Mary Jane Mikuriya, class of 1956

Speaking 61 years after graduating from Pembroke College, Mary Jane Mikuriya, class of 1956, shares an exceptionally rich account of her experience as an American student and woman of Japanese and Austro-Hungarian descent in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

Morayo Akande, class of 2016

In this interview, Morayo Akande, Brown University class of 2016, begins by discussing her path to Brown, and the pressure she felt from her parents to attend an Ivy League institution. She recalls being especially impressed by the warmth of the campus during her visit in high school and narrates her correspondence with the Brown Track and Field team that recruited her. She then goes on to talk about her first memory at Brown, as well as her experience directing The Who’s Tommy.

Resa Lewiss, class of 1992

In this interview, Resa Lewiss, Brown University class of 1992 and practicing emergency physician, shares her thoughts on COVID-19 in the early days of the virus’ outbreak in the United States.

Sarah Fox, class of 1989

In this interview, Dr. Sarah Fox, gynecologist, Clinical Assistant Professor at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, and member of the Brown University class of 1989, discusses the challenges and changes she faced as a women’s health provider during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Susan E. Graber, class of 1971

Susan E. Graber begins Part 1 her interview by sharing some family background information such as her mother’s college education and the expectation that her children would also attend college. She explains why she chose to attend Pembroke College and recalls some difficulties she faced as a woman pursuing science. Graber remembers her ambivalence about pursuing graduate school and the overall assumption that Pembroke graduates would go on to a career or graduate work.

Tanya C. Lumpkins, class of 1985 and Sarah Marion, class of 2019

In this interview recorded during the 2018 Black Alumni Reunion, Tanya Lumpkins, class of 1985, and her daughter, Sarah Marion, class of 2019, share their thoughts on a Brown University family legacy and current events as they compare their experiences on campus.

Teena Shetty, Class of 1995 (MD '00)

In this interview, Dr. Teena Shetty, Brown University undergraduate class of 1995, MD 2000, discusses her experiences as a neurologist in New York City during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Tejal Ashwin Desai, class of 1994

In this interview, Tejal Ashwin Desai, class of 1994, discusses her educational and professional path to becoming professor and chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at University of California – San Francisco. She begins by sharing some personal background including the immigration of her parents to the United States from India and conflict in displaying her heritage outside of her home.