In January 2020, Dow Inc. renamed a building at its headquarters in Midland, Mich., for its first female chemist, Sylvia Stoesser.
Now Chemistry World has a closer look at the woman named on 29 patents and who was key in the invention of styrene. As Rebecca Trager writes, Stoesser was determined to succeed in her field, even if a female scientist was an unexpected hire in 1929.
That meant informing her then-fiance that he needed to make sure Dow hired both of them, not just him.
"I told Wes that if I came to Midland, I would have to have a job. I was determined to put my education to use," Trager wrote, quoting an article in the Sylvia Stoesser collection at the Iowa Women's Archives of the University of Iowa Libraries.
According to Stoesser's daughter Judy, Wesley Stoesser achieved the job offer during a conversation with Dow founder Herbert H. Dow's wife, Grace, telling her his marriage depended on them both getting hired.
She became the only woman and the only Ph.D. in her lab at Dow.