The American Association of University Women (AAUW) hosted a women’s history program titled, “Trained Brains: Women Scientists in WWII,” on March 17 at the Cartersville campus.
According to Diana Sakmar, co-president of Cartersville-Bartow AAUW, “The aim of the program was to celebrate the contributions of these women, achieved against tremendous odds and prejudice against women in science at the time.”
Suzanne Marshall, Ph.D. in history from Emory, was the speaker of the evening and focused on female scientists including Blanche Lawrence, a Tuskeegee educated biochemist, Ella Tyree, a Spelman biology grad, as well as Virginia Gildersleeve, dean of Barnard College and AAUW member.
Gildersleeve used her position as dean to encourage women to pursue science and mathematics, and during WWII wrote, “A shortage is becoming apparent that is far more serious than a shortage of sugar or rubber. This is a shortage of trained brains.”
Marshall derived the title of the program from this quote, as the “trained brains” Gildersleeve had been referring to were female scientists to replace the men who had gone to war.
Sakmar said, “The take-away message, I think, is to perservere and follow your dreams no matter what the field or the obstacles.”