Rebecca Lancefield Essay

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Rebecca Lancefield There are many contributors to what we know as microbiology today. One of the many, memorable person is Ms. Rebecca Craighill Lancefield. She is known as a pioneer microbiologist. Born in 1895 at Ft. Wadsworth, Staten Island, New york on the army post where her father was stationed. With her father being in the Army, Rebecca experienced many geographical and educational opportunities. In the fall of 1912 she began attending Wellesley College with intent of majoring in French and English. While attending school, she sparked a great interest in her roommate’s course in zoology. At this point, Lancefield changed her major to zoology and took as many biology courses allowed that would still allow her to obtain her B.A. Degree. She took the only bacteriology course available at the time, elementary bacteriology (Article pg.1). At this time of Lancefield’s graduation, it was expected that women either got married or taught, she taught science and mathematics at an all-girls boarding school. Lancefield had an incredible hunger for knowledge regarding bacteriology. Of the $500 she made a year, she put $200 away to attend graduate school (Pioneer 807). In June of 1918 Lancefield became a technical for a Streptococcus study at the Rockefeller Hospital (Pioneer 805). At this time, classifying streptococcal bacteria had a very difficult method and was in a very messy state. After moving back to Oregon with her husband for a year, they returned to New York and Lancefield continued with her work with Zinsser, whom typically didn’t like women in his laboratory but made an exception for Lancefield due to her history in biology/bacteriology. It was here that Lancefield began her work with Streptococcus viridians, which was suspected by the medical community to cause rheumatic fever. She worked with the bacteria for over two years with only receiving an

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