Dr. Sara Jane Rhoads joined the University of Wyoming's faculty in 1948. She was one of the first women in the United States to reach full professor rank in chemistry.
She chose her career because in the 1930s chemistry was a glamor science. The phrase of the day, she said, was, "Better things for better living, through chemistry."
At UW she initiated the undergraduate research program in the Chemistry Department and served as department head from 1967 to 1968.
She influenced her nephew, Dr. Richard Smalley, to go into chemistry.
In 1996 Smalley and his colleagues won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of fullerenes, which can be used among other things as drug delivery systems in the body.
Learn more in the Sara Jane Rhoads papers at UW's American Heritage Center.