Meily De Leon is a sophomore seeking her Biology degree in FIU. She is the latest undergraduate student to join the team of our FIU-Fairchild faculty Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega. Her research is focusing on the botanical contributions made by Dr. Alice Carter Cook (1868-1943). Dr. Cook was the first American female scientist to obtain a PhD degree in botany (from Syracuse University, NY in 1888). Specifically, Meily is studying the herbarium collections, photographs, documents, and publications that resulted from the three trips that Dr. Cook made to the Canary Islands (years 1893, 1894, and 1897). The study involves archival and herbarium research at the Natural History of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution), the University of Chicago Library, and the Archives & Special Collections of Mount Holyoke College MA. The project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Amelia Rodriguez, Dr. Isabel Francisco-Ortega, and Dr. Arnoldo Santos, who are recognized authorities in floristics and pre-Hispanic history of these islands. Meily is the fourth FIU-undergraduate student who has joined our botanical history team. Previously, FIU undergraduates Rose Adme, Arielle Jean-Louis, and Beatrice Jean Francois undertook research pertinent to botanical contributions made by Brother Marie-Victorin to Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the Canaries (Webbia 72: 53-61, 2017; Revista del Jardin Botanico Nacional, Universidad de La Habana 37: 121-143, 2016). Meily's initial results of her research were recently presented in the Seventh Annual Women in Science Seminar that took place in FIU on March 18. Our gratitude to the FIU Women's and Gender Studies for supporting the initial research steps of this project and for showcasing this research.
Photos below: Top (Meily De Leon delivering her talk). Bottom (program of the Seventh Annual Women in Science Seminar).