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Cameron professor to be honored for encouraging women in chemistry

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LAWTON, Okla._A Cameron chemistry professor will receive a national honor from the American Chemical Society.

Dr. Ann Nalley will receive her award next March, which recognizes her efforts to encourage women to enter careers in chemistry. Not only does Dr. Nalley inspire college students at Cameron University, but she speaks to women at universities around the world about the professional opportunities they have. She also teaches a summer academy for high school students called 'Nano Explorers' to encourage their interest in science before college.

Dr. Nalley was nominated by a close friend who submitted her portfolio. The portfolio included numerous publications and awards. Dr. Nalley says her nomination couldn't have come to be without the support of her teachers growing up, and most importantly the support of Cameron University.

Dr. Nalley has been a professor at Cameron University since 1969. She's was the university's first female professor and the first to be tenured. Dr. Nalley says Cameron University has always been supportive in her efforts along the way.

"I think I could not have done all the things I have done had it not been for the nurturing environment," said Dr. Nalley.

Dr. Nalley has traveled to countries like Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, and one of her most memorable, Japan. In 2002, she helped Japanese women write a proposal to the emperor of the Japanese government to begin supporting women in higher education.

"Now, the Japanese government supports a 25 percent increase in university budgets that hire women in chemistry," said Dr. Nalley.

Dr. Nalley says she didn't have the resources to learn more about chemistry growing up until a teacher nominated her to attend a summer program.

"My daddy takes me up to Stillwater, we pull up at Oklahoma State in front of Murray Hall looking like Beverly hillbillies," said Dr. Nalley.

And from there, her passion grew.

"I guess I never let any grass grow under my feet because I realized I could compete with the guys. I think that summer program really changed my life," said Dr. Nalley.

She now teaches her classes and the summer programs with the same passion that was instilled in her. Cameron allows her to utilize the rooms and equipment to teach children and it only costs them $9 per day.

Dr. Nalley says she enjoys the success and is glad to have helped pave a way for young women, but nothing is more rewarding than seeing her students thrive from her teachings.

"I love it. I get to relive my life over and over through my students and their accomplishments," said Dr. Nalley.

Dr. Nalley will receive a $5,000 cash award. Cameron University will be granted a $10,000 award that will go towards encouraging young women to join the field of chemistry.

 

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