This post was written by Mike Rynearson, Research Services Assistant.
In this week’s blog, we took the time to spotlight one of our manuscript collections of a trailblazing woman at George Mason University and in the scientific community. After graduating from Catholic University in 1963 with her Ph.D. in Physics, Eugenie V. Mielczarek joined George Mason’s faculty in 1965. She was George Mason University’s first female physicist and also found the university’s Physics’ department. Mielczarek spent 35 years serving as the head of the department and was regarded as an empowering figure. Interviews with former students and faculty state that Mielczarek’s stature within the department made women feel comfortable applying to the university and that their superiors would treat them the same as their male cohorts. Within the collection, you can find many of accounts of her work with women’s professional organizations in the DC area. These pieces include minutes from meetings, grant proposals, and excerpts of interviews with Mielczarek on the topic of women’s equality, especially in the workplace. Pictured here is an interview performed by George Mason University asking women on the faculty about their experiences in their fields and the future they see.
As well, she attempted to make the study of physics accessible to those of all academic backgrounds. Mielczarek not only taught physics to non-physics students at George Mason University but also served as a guest professor at smaller colleges within the DC Metropolitan area. As pictured here, the Mielczarek collection contains documents that explain the logistics and philosophy behind the Visiting Scientists Programs.
Mielczarek received a Distinguished Faculty Award in 1985 for her twenty years of service and in 1999 received Professor Emeritus of Physics status. Within this collection are many of her notebooks that contain notes and research that provided the foundation for her publications. These detailed notes allow you to see the progression of Mielczarek’s work as she goes through the experimental stages of her work. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Mielczarek, we invite you to visit the Special Collections Research Center to view her collection.
Follow Special Collections Research Center on Social Media at our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to request and view collections.
1985 University Days Pamphlet, Eugenie V. Mielczarek collection, C0059, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.
Hollis, John. “In Memoriam: Eugenie V. Mielczarek, Founding Professor of Mason’s Physics Department.” George Mason University, 31 July 2017, www2.gmu.edu/news/439781.