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Irica Grant

was born to Herbert Smith and Vera Smith in the parish of St. Ann, Jamaica, on 27 June 1939. After graduating from Ardenne High School in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1958, Gordon decided to further her education at the University of Manitoba, Canada, where between 1978 and 1985 she obtained a bachelor’s degree and a master of science degree in microbiology. During the same period, Gordon also earned a bachelor’s degree in the field of secondary education and teaching from the University of South Florida. She married Donald K. Gordon, a university professor, in 1964, and the couple have a son, Kevin, and a daughter, Lisa. Throughout her career, she was committed both to her family and to community development, along with the development of science and technology, both as a practicing scientist and a teacher.

Subsequent to working as a technologist at the Government Laboratory in Kingston ...


J. Deborah Johnson Sterrett

microbiologist, was born Dorothy Varie McClendon in Minden, Louisiana, one of two daughters of Glennie J. Henry, a teacher.

McClendon got her early education in the segregated schools of the small predominantly white town of Minden, Louisiana, located twenty-eight miles east of Shreveport. When McClendon was a young teen she moved with her mother and older sister Melba to Detroit, Michigan. The value of education was instilled in McClendon throughout her life. Her mother, a veteran teacher for forty-two years, encouraged her early interest in the sciences, and McClendon applied to Detroit's Cass Technical High School, one of two public “magnet” type schools open to top-notch students from all over the city. McClendon explored her interest in the sciences at Cass, and excelled in her classes in chemistry, bacteriology, and biology.

After graduation from Cass Tech McClendon attended the Tennessee Agricultural Industrial State College in Nashville which began ...


Audra J. Wolfe

microbiologist, was born in Columbus, Ohio, the youngest of William E. and Margaret Moore's three children. Moore's father worked as an electrician for a local manufacturing firm; all five members of the Moore family were listed as “mulattos” in the 1910 census. Ruth Moore completed her entire education within Columbus, enrolling at Ohio State University for her BS (1926), MA (1927), and PhD (1933); the latter two degrees were awarded in the field of microbiology. She taught both hygiene and English at Tennessee State College, a historically black college, to support herself during graduate school (1927–1930).

Moore was not only the first African American woman to receive a PhD in Microbiology but she was also the first African American woman to receive a PhD in the Natural Sciences. Her dissertation focused on the bacteriology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis the organism that ...