Mary L. Good: Science Should Be Pillar of Public Policy

by Robert Bell  on Monday, Mar. 29, 2010 12:00 am  

Mary Good traces her interest in the sciences back to high school, when she built what she described as a "very crude" darkroom for enlarging photos.

While attending the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, a freshman chemistry course taught by an inspiring professor piqued her interests further, and she decided to major in the study. She went on to earn a master's degree and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

From those beginnings, Good ­went on to earn dozens of prestigious accolades and honorary degrees - far too many to list all of them here. She has led some of the top science organizations in the country in government and the private sector.

Good is the founding dean of the George W. Donaghey College of Engineering & Information Technology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The Donaghey College hosted former President Bill Clinton as keynote speaker at the ceremony celebrating its 10th anniversary in November.

For 25 years, Good taught at the University of New Orleans and also at the New Orleans campus of Louisiana State University.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the National Science Board, the organization that governs the National Science Foundation and advises the White House and Congress on science policy.

"That was really a very good experience," she said. "I enjoyed it very much."

From 1982 to 1984, she served as vice chair of the organization, and from 1988 to 1991, she chaired the board.

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Good to the President's Council of Advisors on Science & Technology, and in 1993, Clinton named her Undersecretary for Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce & Technology.

"It was really a stimulating assignment," she said of the undersecretary post.

"[It was] pretty demanding, in the sense that we had a lot of small companies come and try to get information about how to meet regulations for products they were trying to sell.

"It was really a very interesting position in that you dealt with all kinds of things. And the National Institute of Standards & Technology reported to that undersecretary, so you got an opportunity to interact with what is probably the best laboratory in the federal government," Good said.



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