Did you know that Alice Catherine Evans was born in 1881? She was a microbiologist and helped to make milk safe to drink. In 1918 she demonstrated that bacteria caused brucellosis, a life-long and potentially deadly fever in humans and cattle. The bacteria were found in milk, but the milk could be made safe through pasteurization. Alice Evans worked hard until the 1930’s to convince other scientists, doctors, public health officials, and farmers of the need for pasteurization. After she retired in 1945, she became a popular speaker and gave lectures about career development and encouraged other women to pursue scientific careers.
When you take a drink of milk today at lunch, we hope you remember to thank Alice Evans! Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.
The bacteria that causes brucellosis is Bacillus abortus. Brucellosis is also known as undulant fever or Malta fever.
Alice Evans initially started a career as an elementary school teacher. When presented with the opportunity she took a free class offered by Cornell. Later she won a scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in bacteriology from Cornell and then a Master of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin.
Alice Evans became the first woman scientist to have a permanent appointment with the USDA Bureau of Animal Husbandry.
Her findings on brucellosis were met with skepticism partly because of her gender and partly because she did not have a PhD.
In 1918 Alice Evans joined the United States Public Health Service and contributed to the study of meningitis, streptococcal infections, and influenza.
In 1928, Alice Evans became the first woman president of the Society of American Bacteriologists.
Sadly, Alice C. Evans contracted brucellosis in 1922. At the time there was no cure and she suffered through recurring fevers for the rest of her life.