Spelman College

Interviewed by
Joanna Behrman
Interview date
Atlanta, Georgia

In this interview, Joanna Behrman, Assistant Public Historian for AIP, interviews Marta Dark McNeese, Associate Professor of Physics at Spelman College. McNeese recounts her childhood in Maryland and early interest in science. She describes her decision to attend the University of Virginia and to major in physics. McNeese discusses the climate she experienced during graduate school at MIT and her support network. She further elaborates on her graduate research with Michael Feld on the ablation of biological materials by lasers. She describes work as a postdoc at the Naval Research Lab and how she was drawn to join Spelman College. McNeese recounts how Etta Falconer was instrumental in growing the physics department at Spelman. McNeese discusses mentoring students at the undergraduate level and the importance of women’s colleges and HBCUs. At the end of the interview, she describes the development of her research in biophysics and her involvement with APS and NSBP.