The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Women’s Committee initiated the Woman Pioneer in Oceanography Award in 1994 as part of a Women’s History Month celebration. Past awardees have included Mary Sears (1994), Betty Bunce (1995), Ruth Turner (1996), and Marie Tharp (1999). In 2002, Mary Wilcox Silver was honored as the first recipient of the Woman Pioneer in Oceanography Award named for Mary Sears. The award goes to: “A woman who has provided significant scientific leadership in understanding our marine environment and has provided inspiration and/or opportunity for other women in marine sciences. The intent is to recognize long-term, lifetime achievement and impact. Special consideration should be given to candidates who also have shown leadership through mentoring junior scientists, technicians, or students.” This article is based on the presentation given by Mary Silver when she accepted the first Mary Sears Woman Pioneer in Oceanography Award.
When I prepared for the original oral presentation and, more recently, this article, I considered either discussing the history of my research career as a scientist who started her career in oceanography in the early 1960s or presenting a more personal history of my experiences and views that reflected my life as an academic. I have chosen the second and more personal path, weaving in some details of my research.