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WoW Blog (Woman of the Week) Blog

WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

Each week this blog will feature a prominent woman who made significant contributions to engineering or science. If you have any women you'd like us to feature please let us know and we'll do our best to include them.

Do you know of a great woman in engineering that should be recognized? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add her to the blog. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

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Woman of the Week – Florence Bascom

Posted March 27, 2017 4:30 PM by lmno24

Apart from being one of the first females to master in Geology, Florence Bascom was known for her innovative findings in the field. She led a generation of notable female geologists and was the first woman hired by the United States Geological Survey.

She was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1862. Her father, John Bascom, was a professor at Williams College, and later President of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her mother, Emma Curtiss Bascom, was a women's rights activist involved in the suffrage movement. Her parents were strong supporters of women's rights and encouraged women to obtain a college education.

During the time of her undergraduate studies, women had limited access to educational resources like the library and gymnasium, and also limited access to classrooms if men were already studying in them. While studying at Johns Hopkins, she was forced to sit behind a screen so the men “wouldn’t be disturbed.”

Although she was the second woman to obtain a Ph.D. in Geology, she was the first female geologist to present a paper before the Geological Survey of Washington, in 1901.

She started her college teaching career in 1884 at the Hampton School of Negroes and American Indians (now Hampton University). She worked there for a year before going back for her Master's degree. She taught mathematics and science at Rockford College from 1887 to 1889, and later at Ohio State University from 1893 to 1895. She left Ohio State University to work at Bryn Mawr College where she could conduct original research and teach higher level geology courses. While there, she founded the Department of Geology, and started a graduate program that trained many of the first women geologists of the 20th century.

Her students described her as incisive, rigorous and consistent.

Bascom retired from teaching in 1928 but continued to work at the U.S. Geological Survey until 1936.

Aside from teaching, she did extensive geological research and work. Bascom received the position of assistant geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in 1896, and was the first woman to be appointed. From 1896 to 1908, she was an associate editor of the magazine American Geologist.

Bascom was promoted to geologist in 1909 by the USGS and assigned the Mid-Atlantic Piedmont region where much of her work involved the crystalline rocks and geomorphology of this region. A lot of this research is still referenced and used to this day.

She was also given four stars in the first edition of American Men and Women of Science (called American Men of Science at the time), a very high honor for a scientist of any gender.

Additionally, she is credited with contributing greatly to the understanding of how the Appalachian mountain range had been formed through her studies with the research process of petrology.

Florence Bascom died of a stroke on June 18, 1945. She is buried in a Williams College cemetery in Williamstown, alongside family members.

Sources: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Florence-Bascom

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Bascom

https://www2.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/florence-bascom-pioneer-geologist/

http://biography.yourdictionary.com/florence-bascom

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Re: Woman of the Week – Florence Bascom

03/28/2017 10:35 PM

" while studying at John's Hopkins, she was forced to sit behind a screen so the men wouldn't be disturbed "

Interesting statement.

During her time introspective

1. She was radiantly beautiful.

2. She was exceedingly intelligent.

3. Men were ( are ) inherently weak.

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