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Dr. Marie Clark Taylor

Marie Clark Taylor was born in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, on February 16, 1911. After graduating from Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. with honors in 1929, she earned her B.S.(1933) and M.S. (1935, Botany) at Howard University. A leader in STEM fields, Howard is ranked as the top producer of African-American undergraduates who later earn science and engineering doctoral degrees, according to the National Science Foundation.

She enrolled in the doctoral studies program at Fordham University, where she was a member of the Scientific Research Society’s Sigma Xi. In 1941, she became the first woman of any race to receive a scientific doctorate from Fordham when she received her Ph.D. in botany cum laude.

A teacher at heart, Taylor focused much of her career on improving science education. She developed summer programs for high school science teachers to learn new scientific techniques, methods and instruments. This program was so successful it was awarded numerous grants to expand. The summer programs were so successful that word reached President Lyndon B. Johnson, who enlisted Taylor to broaden the reach of the institutes, admitting teachers from not just the United States but overseas as well.

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