Roger Arliner Young

Roger Arliner Young was born in 1899 in Clifton Forge, Virginia, but she grew up in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.

In 1916 she went to study at Howard University. In 1921 Roger took her first science course. It was under Ernest Everett Just, a black biologist. Roger's grades were poor, but Just thought that he saw some promise and started to tutor her. Then, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1923.

Just continued working with Roger. Her relationship with Just improved her skills. Just also helped her find funding to enter graduate school.

She entered the University of Chicago in 1924. She did much better. She soon began publishing her research. Her first article was "On the Excretory Apparatus in Paramecium." It appeared in "Science" in September 1924.

Just invited Young to work with him at Marine Biological Laboratory, starting in 1927. She studied the fertilization process in marine organisms and the process of hydration and dehydration in living cells.

There were rumors about romance between Just and Young. They had a confrontation in 1935 and in 1936 she was fired because she missed classes and she mistreated lab equipment.

Roger took her firing as an opportunity to go to the University of Pennsylvania to begin a doctorate. She went in June 1937. She was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. (1940) in Zoology.

Roger’s mental health started to run low. In the 1950’s she was hospitalized. She was discharged in 1962. She died as a poor and lonely person on, November 9, 1964.


1999, by Matthew, fourth grade