City was well represented

Published 9:41 pm Friday, February 24, 2017

Suffolk was well represented during a recent awards program presented by Dominion Resources and the Library of Virginia.

Scientist, educator and author Dr. Margaret Ellen Mayo Tolbert and Nansemond River High School student Indya Gipson were honored during a Strong Men and Women in Virginia History program early this month. The annual program seeks to recognize prominent African-Americans, past and present, who have made significant contributions to the commonwealth, according to a press release from Dominion.

Tolbert, who grew up in the Saratoga community in Suffolk, was nominated for the award by Dr. Tony King, a Richmond-area physician who also grew up in Saratoga and had read Tolbert’s most recent book, “Resilience in the Face of Adversity: A Suffolkian’s Life Story.”


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Tolbert worked as a chemistry professor at Tuskegee and was soon promoted to associate dean of the school of pharmacy. She later earned a fellowship at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and then became the first female director of the Carver Research Foundation at Tuskegee.

She then came back to the Washington, D.C., area and worked at the National Science Foundation. She later became director of the New Brunswick Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory before retirement in 2011.

Gipson, a junior at Nansemond River High School, earned her recognition with an essay about “how our differences are pushing us apart and what I’m doing to make sure we stay together as a community.” Hers was one of four chosen out of a field of 200 for the award.

She hopes to major in computer science or journalism in college and hopes to inspire more women to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Congratulations to both women.