March is Women’s History Month! We at Michigan EARTH wanted to take some time to celebrate women by honoring some of those who have paved the way for women to have a space in the Earth and environmental sciences today. 

Read on below to learn more about some of the early women scientists in our field.

Mary Holmes was born in Chester, OH in 1850 and is widely recognized as the first woman to earn a doctoral degree in Earth Sciences in the United States after graduating from the University of Michigan in 1888. A year later, she became the first woman fellow elected to the Geological Society of America (GSA).

Florence Bascom was born in Williamstown, MA in 1862 and was a pioneer for women in geology and education. Bascom received her education from the University of Wisconsin, where she earned two bachelor's degrees, one in arts (1882) and one in sciences (1884), and then a master's degree in geology in 1887. She was the first woman geologist hired by the United States Geological Survey and the first woman elected to the council of the GSA.

Marie Tharp was a geologist and oceanographic cartographer born in Ypsilanti, MI in 1920. After completing bachelor's degrees in English and music from Ohio University, she went on to complete a master's degree focusing on petroleum geology from the University of Michigan in 1944. Later in her career, Tharp collaborated with geologist Bruce Heezen to produce the first scientific map of the Atlantic Ocean floor.