Marie Maynard Daily: A Scientific Boss
Do you know the story of Marie Maynard Daily aka the OG Queen of Chemistry?
Marie Maynard Daily was born with a vision for something larger even though her research led her to explore molecules that were much smaller. This fueled her to become the first Black Woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry!
Queen Marie was born on April 16, 1921, in Queens, New York into a family that were fervent believers in the power of education. Her father had immigrated from the West Indies as a young man and enrolled in Cornell University with aspirations of becoming a chemist. However, he was unable to complete his education due to a lack of money. Like a true boss, Marie told life to hold her beer, and she set off on mission to finish what her father started.
Marie’s mother came from a family of readers and she spent long hours reading to Marie which fostered her love of books, in particular, those that centered on science and scientists.
Marie would spend hours reading about scientists and their achievements in her grandfather's extensive library and was especially fond of Paul de Kruif’s The Microbe Hunters.
Marie used that strong foundation of education to propel her to attend Queens College for undergrad before matriculating on to NYU where she received her Masters in Chemistry after just 1 year. In 1944 Marie enrolled in Columbia University poised to complete a scientific hat trick of degrees. Of course she didn’t waste any time and secured the badge in 1947, becoming the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry!
Marie went on to conduct extensive research on the causes of heart attacks. Her groundbreaking work disclosed the relationship between high cholesterol and clogged arteries, which opened up a new understanding of how foods and diet can affect the health of the heart and the circulatory system.
In 1988, Daily started a scholarship, in honor of her father, for minority students who want to study science at Queens College, effectively bringing her story full circle. Before she passed in 2003, Daily championed efforts to get students of color enrolled in medical schools and graduate science programs.
This International Women’s Day we celebrate a woman who personifies Big Boss Energy. A woman who overcame obstacles, blazed new trails, and created opportunities for young girls & boys to dare to dream, defy the status quo, and embrace ADVENTURE… even on a molecular level!