Mary Ellen Avery

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Who Says Females Cannot be Scientists? Mary Ellen Avery is an achieved scientist in the field of neonatology, which the field of medicine that concerns the care, development, and diseases of newborn infants. She is most known for her discovery in 1959 that respiratory distress syndrome in premature newborns is caused by a lack of surfactant, the foamy coating that helps lungs expand. Avery was born in 1927 in Camden, New Jersey. She had both a mother and a father. Her mother was a high school vice-principal and her father owned a manufacturing company in Philly. Avery’s inspiration was her neighbor, pediatrician Emily Bacon; she was the one who took Avery to see her first premature baby. Avery went to private school her whole life and later went to Wheaton College. After graduating from Wheaton in 1948 with a degree in chemistry, she pursued her dream of going to medical school. She applied to both John Hopkins and Harvard. Without Avery knowing at the time, Harvard didn’t accept any females into their program but John Hopkins did. When she got into John Hopkins, it was without a question that’s where she would attend medical school, in fact, her inspiration Emily Bacon went there too. Avery had experienced a major culture shock from attending an all women’s college to finding herself be one of only four women in her class at John Hopkins. She grew to love it and remained at John Hopkins after receiving her M.D. degree in 1952. She was first an intern and a resident, then as a fellow, and finally became a member of the faculty. While at John Hopkins, Avery was the first woman to ever be named a Markle fellow. With this achievement, it provided her with five years of research support during the critical post residency years and gave her great freedom to pursue her own research. After graduating med school in 1952, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. By the time she

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