22 May 2017

Wax Museum Project: Meet Rachel Fuller Brown

Wax Museum projects seem pretty ubiquitous here in the U.S. these days but just in case you don't know what that is, grade schoolers pick an influential person, create a report or tri-fold poster about that person, then dress up as them and do a brief oral presentation for students in the school. Our kiddo came home with the name of a person I had never heard of before. After all I learned about her, I thought I would share some of that with you.

image via
Dr. Rachel Fuller Brown (on the right) and her research partner Elizabeth Lee Hazen discovered Nystatin, the first anti-fungal medicine and it was introduced to the world in 1950. This was the second great medical discovery of the 20th century following two decades after the discovery of penicillin. Nystatin is used to treat fungal infections like athlete's foot, thrush and candida as well as used to treat fungal disease in trees and artwork that has been damaged by fungus.

Rather than take the 13.4 million dollars she earned from the royalties of Nystatin, she donated it to further scientific study opportunities for women and other good causes. She received many awards for her scientific contributions and spent her entire career contributing not only to scientific research but also to helping the next generation of scientists get established.

Wax museum day at our school was a great opportunity for me to learn some new things about Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Sally Ride, Helen Keller and other notable women. There were some terrific costumes including Stephen Hawking, Teddy Roosevelt, Neil Armstrong, Amelia Earhart. and my very favorite character of the day, Bob Ross, the PBS painting teacher.

I thought this was a fantastic project for the kids because they had to practice doing research, creating an artistic display, costume design and most importantly I think, the art of public speaking. There are so many elements to public speaking including eye contact, voice intonation and volume, organization of thoughts, appropriate use of time allowed and more. The Man and I invested time in visiting all the booths and found them very interesting. It was fun to interact with each of the kids and ask them questions. I know for sure that our family will never forget Rachel Fuller Brown or her contributions to medical science.

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