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New LTU student-produced documentary celebrates science trailblazer

Release Date: April 29, 2022

SOUTHFIELD—Bettye Washington-Greene was a pioneer in research chemistry, earning a PhD and becoming the first Black woman to work in the research labs at Midland’s Dow Chemical.

Now, her life has been chronicled by Logan Daniher, a graduating senior in the media communication program at Lawrence Technological University.

Daniher wrote, produced, and directed “Inclusive Stories in Science: Celebrating Dr. Bettye Washington Greene,” an eight-minute documentary video. It was produced through a grant to LTU from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, focused on providing research activities to students from historically underrepresented communities.

The documentary can be viewed on LTU’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cVw7VhwC8o. It’s narrated by LTU media communication student Elizabeth Coon.

Washington-Greene worked for Dow Chemical from 1965 to 1990, focused on advancing the state of the art in latex materials and polymers, and held several patents. She also raised three children, one of whom is interviewed in the documentary. Also quoted are officials at Dow Chemical and Wayne State University, where Washington-Greene earned her chemistry PhD.

The video is based on a book chapter authored by Sibrina Collins, executive director of LTU’s Marburger STEM Center. Collins served as editor of the book, “African American Chemists: Academia, Industry and Social Entrepreneurship,” published by the American Chemical Society in 2021.

“Dr. Bettye Washington-Greene is a trailblazer in the chemical sciences becoming one of the few African American women to earn a doctorate in chemistry in the 1960s,” Collins said. “Her story is truly inspiring for all girls and women in STEM.”

The Marburger STEM Center was established by a $20 million gift to LTU and opened in 2016. Educational areas supported include robotics; software engineering; modeling, simulation and visualization; nanotechnology; medical simulations and informatics; computer-assisted molecular modeling; synthetic biology; “green” chemistry; and design thinking. The center also supports academic programming in sustainable design, energy systems, architectural engineering, game art and game design, media communication, transportation and industrial design, digital humanities, digital marketing, and mathematics.

To learn how you can bring Marburger STEM Center activities to your school or organization, contact Marburger STEM Center Assistant Director Jay Jessen at jjessen@ltu.edu or (248) 204-2662. 

Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


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