Laura Puaca

Douglass Alumna Laura Micheletti Puaca DC’99 Honored with History of Science Award


Douglass congratulates alumna Laura Micheletti Puaca DC’99, who was honored by the History of Science Society this past November. Laura received the Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize for best book on the role of women in science. Her book, Searching for Scientific Womanpower: Technocratic Feminism and the Politics of National Security, 1940-1980, acknowledges the first wave of feminism in the U.S. and its efforts in trying to improve the position of women in the sciences.

Laura highlights several extraordinary first wave reformers, including women such as Mary Ingraham Bunting, dean of Douglass College and former president of Radcliffe, and Virginia Gildersleeve, dean of Barnard College, and organizations like Sigma Delta Epsilon for Graduate Women in Science and the Society of Women Engineers. Nicknaming this group of reformers technocratic feminists, she discusses how they responded to the times they were living in and the need for equal rights for women. They used a technocratic argument: since the success of our military depended on science, it was necessary to educate the other half of the potential workforce, women.

Laura is an associate professor of history at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. In addition to Douglass, she earned a M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina.

(photo credit: Christopher Newport University)