Meteorologist: June Bacon-Bercey (1928-2019). Bacon-Bercey was said to be the first African American female meteorologist to forecast weather on television. In 1972, the American Meteorological Society awarded Ms. Bacon-Bercey its Seal of Approval – given for excellence in on-air meteorology. She later worked for the National Weather Service. At UCLA, she was advised to take home economics instead. “I got a D in home economics and an A in thermodynamics.”
Biochemist: Marie Maynard Daly (1921-2003). Marie Maynard Daly was the first Black woman in the United States to earn a PhD in chemistry. Dr. Daly discovered the link between high cholesterol and clogged arteries - leading to a better understanding of how heart attacks are caused. She became a champion for diversity, working to increase the representation of minorities in science.
Professor, Conservationist: Susan Flader. Susan Flader is professor emerita of American western and environmental history at the University of Missouri. She served as board chair of the Leopold Foundation. Flader also is a founder and past president of the American Society for Environmental History and the Missouri Parks Association. She has lectured in nearly every state and on five continents, most frequently in China. Dr. Flader is a member of the SNR Advisory Council.
Atmospheric Scientist: Laura Furgione (BS '93 Atmospheric Science). Laura Furgione was named the Acting Assistant Administrator for the National Weather Service (NWS) in May 2012. Previously, she spent several years in Alaska as the director of the Alaska Region. There, she oversaw all operational and scientific climatological, meteorological, hydrological, volcanic ash and tsunami warning programs for the state and surrounding waters.
Professor, Plant Scientist: Gretchen Hagen. Hagen, research professor emerita, joined MU in 1986 with her husband, Tom Guilfoyle, as research partners. The pair founded the plant biology cluster of the Food for the 21st Century Program. Groundbreaking research related to the plant hormone auxin, earned them numerous awards. Hagen was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2012.
Conservationist, Philanthropist: Hilda "Pat" Jones (BS '50 Soil Science; 1925-2018). Jones is believed to be the first woman to graduate from Mizzou with a soil science degree. She was a lifelong supporter of nature, outdoor spaces and conservation in Missouri. She and her husband, Edward “Ted” Jones, donated 711 acres in eastern Callaway County, which became Prairie Fork Conservation Area (PFCA). PFCA is operated as a teaching center by the Missouri Department of Conservation, the School of Natural Resources and the Missouri Prairie Foundation. As part of this $1.6 million gift, the Prairie Fork Trust was created to provide oversight and additional funding for activities related to natural resource education, restoration, management and research. PFCA hosts 5,000 students each year.
Soil Scientist, USDA Researcher: Elizabeth L. Klepper (1936-2018). In 1985, Klepper was the first woman to be awarded Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America. She graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Chemistry from Vanderbilt in 1958. She was a postdoc in New South Wales, Australia, and returned to the US to teach about plant root systems. Klepper was the first woman in the US to edit a major agricultural journal – Crop Science. She also held fellowships with Crop Society of America and American Society of Agronomy.
Atmospheric Scientist, Aerospace Researcher: Delores Knipp (MS '84 Atmospheric Sciences, BS '76 Agriculture). Knipp, a CAFNR alum, is considered a world expert on space weather. She is a research professor at the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research. She has been involved in the field since 1977, where she began as a weather officer with the U.S. Air Force. Knipp was named a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2019 and also received the International Baron Marcel Nicolet Medal for space weather and climate.
Botanist, Geneticist: Barbara McClintock (1902-1992). McClintock earned a PhD in botany from Cornell University in 1927. She researched the chromosomal changes in corn observed during reproduction. She was awarded several postdoc fellowships from National Research Council. McClintock was an assistant professor at Mizzou from 1936-1940, leaving due to a lack of faculty equality at that time. After leaving the University of Missouri, she took a position at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island to conduct genetics research. McClintock received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983 “for her discovery of mobile genetic elements.”
Veterinarian, Author: Lila Miller. Dr. Miller graduated from Cornell University with a DVM and BS in Animal Science – one of the first African American women to graduate from Cornell Vet Med. She was the first veterinarian appointed to human medicine’s National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) in 2011. Dr. Miller has more than 25 years of experience working in the field of shelter medicine. She is the co-editor of the textbook Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians and Staff and a contributing author of the veterinary forensics publication, Recognizing and Reporting Animal Abuse, a Veterinarian’s Guide.
Television Host: Tyne Morgan (BS '08 Agricultural Journalism). Morgan has been a long-time employee with Farm Journal, where she travelled the country as a reporter for AgDay and U.S. Farm Report. In 2014, she became the first female host of U.S. Farm Report – only the fourth host of the show in its history. She returned to campus in 2018 as a CAFNR Executive-in-Residence.
Soil Scientist: Ester Parsons Perry (1903-1992). Perry earned her PhD in Soil Science from University of California, Berkeley in 1939 - the first woman in the US to receive this degree. Her research examined profiles of primary soils derived from granite rocks in California. Upon completion of this degree, she worked in and managed the soil science lab at the university until she retired in 1969.
Meteorologist, NASA Scientist: Joanne Simpson (1923-2010). Simpson was a student pilot in WWII, and taught Aviation Cadets. In 1949, she became the first woman to earn a PhD in meteorology. Simpson was Chief Scientist Emeritus for Meteorology, Earth Sun Exploration Division, at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. She worked with a science group on Cloud and Mesoscale modeling and studied hurricanes. She authored or co-authored over 190 scientific articles.
DC Lobbyist, USDA Executive: Karla Thieman (BS '06 Agricultural Economics). After joining the USDA in April 2014 as a senior policy advisor, she was later appointed as Chief of Staff to USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in 2015. Prior to her USDA position, she was a staff member on the Senate Ag Committee. Thieman now works for Russell Group in Washington D.C., handling government affairs related to food and agriculture.
Regulatory Executive, Food Scientist: Wamwari Waichungo (PhD '96, MS '94 Food Science). Growing up in Kenya, Waichungo dreamed of a career in food or agriculture in the United States. After graduate school, she returned to Kenya and was approached about working for Coca-Cola. She climbed the company ranks and became a top executive. In 2015, she returned to campus as a CAFNR Executive-in-Residence and was a Column Award recipient in 2018 – the college’s highest honor.
Professor, Biochemist: Judy Wall. Wall, Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of Missouri, has been a Biochemistry faculty member for nearly 40 years. Wall earned her PhD in Biochemistry from Duke University. She is an expert and industry leader in environmental microbiology. Wall has been named a fellow of both the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Academy of Microbiology.
USE THIS ONE
Oncologist, Animal Scientist: Kristy Weber (BS '87 Animal Sciences). Weber became the first woman to serve as president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 2019. She studied animal sciences at Mizzou, with plans to become a veterinarian. After being accepted to vet school, she went back to school at John Hopkins for human medicine. Weber is the chief of orthopaedic oncology in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and the director of the Sarcoma Program in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center.