When Dr. Nancy Gray entered her freshman organic chemistry class at Bucknell University in 1972, she was dismayed to see there was only one other woman in the class.
That same year, Gray, now BioVentures director at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, was inspired when she read how Dr. Mary Good became the first woman elected to the board of directors of the American Chemical Society.
“I thought to myself, yes, a woman can make it in the field of chemistry,” Gray said. She introduced Good, an innovator in economic development and technology in Arkansas, as the recipient of the seventh annual Fribourgh Award Sept. 15 at the Pleasant Valley Country Club.
Created in 2010, the Fribourgh Award honors the late Dr. James H. Fribourgh, former UALR professor emeritus, who served the university for more than 45 years as chair of life sciences, interim chancellor, vice chancellor for academic affairs, and distinguished professor of biology. The award recognizes an individual who has made considerable contributions to the state through the disciplines of mathematics and science.
This year’s event raised more than $51,000 that will benefit the Science and Mathematics Leadership Endowed Scholarship Fund for undergraduate students at UALR. The 2016-17 recipients of the scholarship are Jon Siratt, who is double majoring in physics and mathematics, and Evgeniya Fedorova, a biology major with a concentration in molecular biotechnology.
At UALR, Good served as special adviser for economic development to Joel E. Anderson, former chancellor. She also served as chair of the UALR George W. Donaghey Emerging Analytics Center Management Board, and founding dean of UALR College of Engineering and Information Technology.
She worked in various federal, state, and local positions such as undersecretary for technology for the Technology Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce, was a member of the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and was the chair of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board.
Good considers the construction of the UALR Engineering and Information Technology Building and the Little Rock Technology Park as some of her greatest accomplishments, but most of her pride comes from the accomplishments of UALR students.
“I am really the most proud of the students who have come out of there. We have students who are doing really exciting things,” she said.
Throughout the evening, Good was hailed as a visionary leader in technology and a role model for women in science.
“While she was accomplishing all of those visible feats, she was knocking down gender barriers left and right,” Gray said. “If she could be a role model and virtual mentor to a young woman parked in the middle of nowhere in central Pennsylvania, imagine the number of anonymous women in this world that she has influenced by her example.”
When asked if she had any advice for women in the sciences today, Good said they should “do what you want to do and keep at it, and most of all enjoy it.”