Women Making History | LSU

Women Making History

LSU celebrates women making history all year long by honoring our world-class faculty, students and staff at the forefront of discoveries in the field, lab or classroom. Come to LSU and find your passion.


photo: boyajian

Tabetha Boyajian, Astronomy

Dr. Boyajian is the only woman to have a star named after her. "Tabby's star" or KIC 8462852 is a star that has unique variations in brightness. With help from the citizen scientist group Planet Hunters, she and her colleagues are conducting research on this perplexing star.

Her advice to aspiring scientists: “People will judge you no matter what you do, so do something you are passionate about.”


photo: daniels race

Theda Daniels-Race, Engineering

Dr. Daniels-Race's work has involved a wide range of research in the area of compound semiconductor electronics. She and her students explore nanoscale phenomena for the development of next generation devices. Dr. Daniels-Race is from New Orleans. She teaches Solid-State Devices and Semiconductor Materials at LSU.

Her advice to aspiring engineers: “Don’t quit!”


photo: gonzalez

Gabriela González, Physics

Dr. González serves as the spokesperson for the international LIGO Scientific Collaboration. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, team detected in 2015 the gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, and opened a new window of discovery to the cosmos. 

In 2016, Dr. González was named one of the Ten People who Mattered by the scientific journal Nature. González received the Bruno Rossi prize from the American Astronomical Society, the Jesse W. Beams award of the American Physical Society and was named Scientist of the Year by Great Minds in STEM. 

Her advice to aspiring scientists: “Be curious and ask questions!”


photo: morgan kelly

Morgan Kelly, Biology

Dr. Kelly is a marine biologist. She studies animals that do not have a backbone, or invertebrates, such as oysters, sea anemones, crustaceans and corals that live in fresh or saltwater. She and her graduate students conduct research in the field and lab that helps us understand how these animals are genetically adapted to changes in their environment.

Her advice to aspiring scientists: “Follow your curiosity and love of the natural world. Know that science isn't something you do out of a desire to ‘win,’ but it’s something that you do because you love it so much you can't help yourself.


photo: nancy rabalais

Nancy Rabalais, Coast

Dr. Rabalais received a MacArthur “genius” award. She is one of the world’s foremost experts on the largest oxygen-depleted, or hypoxic, zone in the U.S. where aquatic organisms can no longer live. She leads a long-term study of the hypoxic zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico adjacent to the Mississippi River on the Louisiana/Texas continental shelf roughly the same size as the state of Massachusetts.

Her advice to aspiring scientists: “Be professional at all times.”


photo: vicente

Graça Vicente, Chemistry

Dr. Vicente’s research involves the synthesis of new organic materials that absorb and emit energy in the visible and near-infrared region of the optical spectrum and their development as biological labels, imaging agents, ion sensors or as sensitizers for the photodynamic therapy or the boron neutron capture therapy of cancers.

Her advice to aspiring scientists: “Pursue a Ph.D. in a STEM discipline that excites you.”


photo: warny

Sophie Warny, Geology

Dr. Warny studies organic-walled microfossils, or palynomorphs, such as pollen, spores and algae. These microfossils are preserved in sediment and rocks and can be used to answer questions about evolution, extinction, diversity or how living organism formed. They also offer information about ancient climates and environments. They can also be used for oil exploration and as a forensic tool in criminal investigations or archaeological studies.

Her advice to aspiring scientists: “Starting on day one, go to all your classes, be organized, make time to study and join a team to have a support system. Get involved in a research lab by going to talk to faculty members who are doing research in a field that interests you. Not only will you learn a lot, but these faculty will become your mentors and can help you make the most out of your university experience.”  

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Women's History Month Events

Esprit de Femme
March 30 at 8:00 a.m.
The LSU Women’s Center Esprit de Femme Award is an annual acknowledgement of a person who has made exceptional efforts towards the advancement of women. We seek to honor individuals that strive to enrich the lives of women in hope that others will follow their example. This award honors an individual who makes exceptional efforts to assuage the struggles of women in our community, state, and culture.

About Esprit de Femme