Sheila J. Counce-Nicklas Oral History Interview, 2007

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  • Dr. Sheila J. Counce-Nicklas discusses her background; her love of science and of learning; her interest in how things work; her Fulbright scholarship to Edinburgh; her professor suggesting she get a PhD instead of diploma at Edinburgh; studying sex-linked lethal chromosomes in fruit flies; the advantage of being a female in working with males; asking for a promotion in the Duke Department of Anatomy; her reputation in Europe; coming to Duke; other women at Duke: Dr. Lois Pounds, Dr. Jo Rae Wright, Dr. Nell Cant, Dr. Rebecca H. Buckley; women during the time period of late 1960s and early 1970s; the necessity of self-assurance for these women; her husband's work in Duke's Department of Zoology; being the lone woman in the department; not being treated much differently; her continued research on sex-linked lethal chromosomes in fruit flies; this research not enabling her to see the way that the sexes develop, as she had hoped; Duke's increasing emphasis on competing in the research arena; changes in the Department of Anatomy; her research being rewarding; her major contribution as being a two-volume work on insect development; her reputation in Europe as an important factor in her promotion; support from colleagues; the solitary nature of working in the laboratory; the work of other members of the department; teaching; Dr. Montrose Moses; service on Academic Council; the necessity of fairness in appointments; mentors; mentorship; the freedom to explore in her work at Duke; the necessity of grants in research; sharing the workload at home with her husband, Bruce Nicklas; the Promotions and Tenure Committee; the move in the field toward cell and molecular biology; the change in the Department of Anatomy under a new chair; Duke's academic reputation; the increase in the number of women since she first arrived; women in the basic sciences; and being outspoken. The transcription of this interview was made possible by a grant from the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation.
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