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Roger Arliner Young


Young was 'lively and vivacious' ... Young didn't enroll in a science course until spring of 1921 ... Summer of 1924, Young enrolled at the University of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Roger Arliner Young

Roger Arliner Young
  • By Ashley Schartner

Roger Arliner Young
  • Born in Clifton Forge, Virginia in 1889
  • Moved with her family to Burgettstown,
    Pennsylvania, where she graduated from high
    school in 1916
  • Entered Howard University to major in music

College years
  • Young was lively and vivacious
  • Participated actively in the colleges Glee Club,
    the Young Womens Christian Association, and the
    Howard University Players
  • She believed that not failure, but low aim is a

College years Cont.
  • Young didnt enroll in a science course until
    spring of 1921
  • Took general biology taught by Ernest Everett
  • This changed her career plans and her life
  • In 1923, Young earned a bachelors degree in

Just as a mentor
  • After graduating, Just hired Young as an
    assistant professor of zoology in his department
  • His reasons for choosing her were unclear
  • She had only taken two science courses and one
    general zoology course
  • He became her mentor

First accomplishments
  • In 1924, she published her 1st article
    (Publication of her paramecium work)
  • Her research received both national and
    international recognition
  • Just tried unsuccessfully to obtain funding for
    her to attend graduate school

Further schooling
  • Summer of 1924, Young enrolled at the University
    of Chicago on a part-time basis
  • 1926, she earned her masters degree in zoology
  • She was elected to the Sigma Xi honorary society
  • This was an unusual achievement for a
    non-doctoral candidate

Youngs Research
  • Between 1927 and 1936, Young spent every summer
    doing research at the Marine Biological
    Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts
  • In 1927 and 1928, she accompanied Just as his
    research assistant
  • Helped him in his work on fertilization
  • Just called her a real genius in Zoology

Woods Hole
  • Young was the 1st Black woman to join the Woods
    Hole scientific community
  • In 1929, Young had secured a place at Woods Hole
    so that her scientific reputation wasnt entirely
    dependent on her work with Just

Justs departure
  • Spring 1929, Young stood in for Just as head of
    the zoology department
  • She performed the teaching duties that were
    vacant while Just was away
  • She was awarded a General Education board
  • Worked with Frank Lillie, University of Chicago

Justs return
  • Young went to University of Chicago to study with
    Lillie and prepare for her qualifying
  • Jan. 1930, Just returned to Europe, causing
    things to fall apart for Young
  • Failed the qualifying examination
  • Denied acceptance into the doctoral program and
    left Chicago immediately
  • She was worn out and overworked

Youngs hardships
  • Experiencing other problems
  • Physical, emotional and financial
  • She had done permanent damage to her eyes while
    doing experiments using ultraviolet rays
  • She was the sole support for her helpless mom
  • Due to Justs disappointment in Young, their
    friendship and his mentorship of her ended

New strides
  • Pulled herself together
  • Returned to Woods Hole, securing a place in the
    lab with V.L. Heilbrunn of the University of
  • Followed up the marine egg study she had pursued
    with Just (1920s)

Youngs disappointment
  • Spring 1936 Just fired Young in an attempt to
    tighten up the zoology departments budget
  • During this time, Howards power elite wasnt
    very supportive of women.
  • Rumors spreading about her and Just having an

Youngs achievements
  • 1930-1936 she engaged in publishable research
    at the Marine Biological Laboratory with
    Heilbrunn and Costello
  • 1935-1938 she published four papers
  • 1937 Heilbrunn accepted her into the doctoral
    program at the University of Pennsylvania

Youngs Achievements cont.
  • She was the first Black woman to receive a
    doctoral degree in Zoology, from the University
    of Pennsylvania in 1940.
  • Dissertation was, The Indirect Effects of
    Roentgen Rays on Certain Marine Eggs.
  • After earning doctorate, she secured an assistant
    professorship at North Carolina College for
    Negroes, in Raleigh
  • Moved to Shaw University and became head of the
    Biology department

Career decline
  • Financial problems worsened
  • Decline in research opportunities
  • Couldnt afford to go to Woods Hole during
  • Research ended, now only a teacher
  • 1947 left Shaw and returned to North Carolina
    College as a Professor of Biology

Career Decline Cont.
  • 1953 Mother died which accelerated her
    emotional breakdown
  • Difficult for her to hold a position for even
    moderate amounts of time
  • Gossip circling about her mental state

Final Attempt
  • After securing a temporary position at Jackson
    State, her condition deteriorated. Had to quit
    and check herself into the Mississippi Mental
    Asylum in Whitefield
  • December 1962 she was discharged
  • Last position temporary visiting lecturer in
    Biology at Southern University in New Orleans
  • Couldnt truly function on her own
  • Because she never married, she died poor and
    alone Nov. 9, 1964 in New Orleans

Contributions to Science
  • She performed many studies
  • On the hydration and dehydration of living cells
  • On the effects of direct and indirect radiation
    on sea urchin eggs
  • On the structures that control the salt
    concentration in paramecium
  • She also published several books and 4 papers

  • Her contributions further increase the study of
    marine biology, showing the need to improve and
    secure marine environments
  • Information from her studies will be used to
    further explore and understand how living cells
    react with other minerals and substances