A New One-Woman Play Honors Early Women Ph.D. Recipients at the University of Cincinnati

Alice Jones, a professor of geosciences at Eastern Kentucky University, has written and now performs a one-woman play about Annette and Lucy Braun, sisters who were among the first women to earn Ph.D.s at the University of Cincinnati. Annette Braun earned a Ph.D. in biology in 1911. She was the university’s first woman Ph.D. recipient. Her sister Lucy followed five years later with a Ph.D. in biology.

The two women spent their academic careers  teaching in the biological sciences at the University of Cincinnati. And they conducted extensive field research traversing more than 60,000 square miles of forests in the Appalachian region documenting plant species and insects.

Jones’ play “Sisters of the Forest”, which was performed for the first time last week, documents how the sisters’ “life-changing” trip in 1934 to Lynn Fork in Perry County shaped “both the trajectory of their ground-breaking research in ecological science and forestry, and their pioneering roles in the history of modern environmental conservation and activism.” Throughout the ’30s and ’40s, the mountain residents granted the spinster sisters access to their homesteads and forests in and around Pine Mountain and Black Mountain to conduct research that formed the basis of Lucy’s Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America, the 1950 book of such scientific importance that it has never been out of print.

Professor Jones spent a year researching the Braun sisters. In addition to her academic work, she has been active in local theater. She joined the faculty at Eastern Kentucky University in 1997.

Professor Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in environmental geography from Texas State University, and a doctoral degree in city and regional planning from Ohio State University.

Filed Under: STEM FieldsWomen's Studies


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