University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Go to chemistry home page.


Alumna’s book profiles African American women chemists

Book signing and meet-and-greets, Tuesday, January 17 & Wednesday, January 18

Jeannette Brown, a University of Minnesota Department of Chemistry alumna, has written a book profiling the accomplishments of African American women chemists. She will present a brief lecture and sign her book from 3:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 18, at the Coffman Memorial Union Bookstore, 300 Washington Ave. S.E. A couple of meet-and-greets are planned: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in 568A Kolthoff Hall, 225 Pleasant St. S.E.; and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, January 18, in the Black Student Union, located on the second floor of the Coffman Memorial Union.

African American Women Chemists

In her book, African American Women Chemists, Brown profiles the lives and accomplishments of 25 chemists, from the earliest pioneers to the late 1960s—a time when an explosion of career opportunities opened up to African Americans due to the passage of the Civil Rights Acts. Each mini-biography is a thorough account of the chemist's passion for the field, what inspired her, and what she accomplished in her career. Brown rounds out this study with the inclusion of a narrative of her own life story and achievements, and a look at what's in store for the future of African American women chemists.

Department of Chemistry alumna

Jeannette Brown was the first African American to receive a degree from the Department of Chemistry's graduate program, earning her master's degree in 1958. She received her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Hunter College. She is a former faculty associate in the department of Pre-College Programs at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. For 25 years, she worked as a research chemist at Merck & Co., Inc. She started her industrial career as a junior chemist at CIBA Pharmaceutical Co., working there for 11 years. She is the 2004 Société de Chimie Industrielle (American Section) Fellow of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and is a member of the first class of American Chemical Society Fellows (2009)—the only African American woman elected so far.

Advocate and mentor for science education

Jeannette Brown is an advocate for science education, and is passionate about serving as a mentor to and role model for underrepresented students. She has participated in countless scientific outreach programs and career days for students at all educational levels—elementary through college. For her work as a mentor to minority students and science education advocacy, she was elected to the Hunter College Hall of Fame in 1991; was honored by the University of Minnesota with an Outstanding Achievement Award in 2005; and received the American Chemical Society national award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences in 2005.

Download a PDF of the information flyer for the book signing and meet-and-greet.