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Women in Science: Women in Science at UMaine

A guide to accompany the Women in Science Display

About this guide

This research guide explores the history of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. To celebrate Women's History Month, we are highlighting important and often forgotten women who have contributed to STEM throughout the decades. Here you will find information regarding important female scientists and researchers at the University of Maine.

Edith M. Patch

black and white image from 1916 of a white woman

Edith Patch was a major figure in entomology at UMaine from 1904–37. She was interested in both science and writing, but could not find a job in science until 1903 when Charles Woods of the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station invited her to organize a Department of Entomology at UMaine. Woods offered her no salary but arranged for her to teach English for a living wage. He received criticism for appointing a woman in what was considered a man’s field. Within a year, Patch established the department and earned a salaried position. She wrote 15 books and 78 major articles, including a three-volume work on the aphid. Her book “Food Plant Catalogue of the Aphids of the World” is regarded as one of the most outstanding scientific contributions made by an Orono resident. She was elected the first woman president of the Entomological Society of America in 1930. Patch bought her Orono home, Braeside, in 1913 and made its gardens, fields and woods a living laboratory. She retired from UMaine in 1937 and lived at Braeside until her death in 1954.

Find more information on Edith Patch on her Wikipedia page here and in our Special Collecitons here

Katheryn E. Briwa

Kathryn E. Briwa was a foods and nutrition specialist for the University of Maine Extension Service from 1941 until her retirement in 1960. She earned a B.A. degree from Vassar College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. She received a national Superior Service Award from the United States Department of Agriculture in 1960 for her work in promoting better nutrition, strengthening school lunch programs, training volunteer groups for wartime and emergency meal planning, and for pioneering work in group weight control.

Find more information on Kathryn Briwa in our Special Collections here

Beryl Warner Williams

black women with glasses

Williams was born in Bangor and graduated from Bangor High School. At UMaine, she participated in field hockey, volleyball, riflery, and the university orchestra, and was selected to become a member of the honor society All Maine Women. To cover the cost of the trolley that carried her between her Bangor home and Orono, the talented musician played the piano for women’s physical education classes on campus.

After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, she left Maine because she was not able to secure a teaching position in the state. She settled in Baltimore in 1948, where she taught English and mathematics at Morgan State University. In 1963 she was tapped to direct the college’s evening, summer, and extension programs, and in 1971 she became dean of the school’s Center for Continuing Education. She retired in 1981.

Besides her distinguished academic career, Williams was active in the NAACP, American Red Cross, and the American Association of University Women. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Maine in 1972, and in 1995 received the Alumni Association’s Alumni Career Award. Williams died in 1999 at age 85. 

Find more information on Beryl Williams on her Wikipedia page

Katherine Musgrave

In 1969 Professor Musgrave started at the University of Maine as an instructor and assistant professor in Food and Nutrition she earned a professorship in 1979. Professor Musgrave was an advocate of wise food selection and the promotion of wellness and throughout her career at the University she wrote numerous papers and articles on the subject as well as nutrition guides.

In 1986, Musgrave retired from the University of Maine, but remained active in the field of nutrition. At UMaine as professor emerita, continued to teach FSN 101 Introduction to Food and Nutrition many years after retirement. Throughout her career Professor Musgrave received numerous awards including: Outstanding Women of Northern and Eastern Maine (1983), American Home Economic Association Leader Award (1989), Award for Excellence in Community Dietetics (1991), Professor Musgrave (Katherine) Records (University Of Maine) Maryann Hartman (1995), and Outstanding Continuing Education Faculty member in the New England Region (2002). In 2011, Professor Musgrave was elected into the Maine Women's Hall of Fame and received the Medallion Award from the American Dietetic Association.

Find more information on Katherine Musgrave on her Wikipedia page and in our Special Collection here

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