A few years ago I wrote a short post about my aunt, Leila Diamond, who was a mentor to many women scientists in the field of cancer research. Leila died in 1999, and yet her legacy as a mentor lives on. The other day I received an email from someone who came across my post, as she was searching for information on Leila.
I worked as a post-doc in Leila’s lab from 1986 – 1988 and as a visiting scientist in the summer of 1989. It was a lab filled with women scientists - quite a different experience for someone who had really only had male mentors in science coming up through the education system.
After I took a university teaching position (something she lamented as she wanted me to stay in research), we kept in touch for a time. I lost touch, but did attend her memorial service.
I always thought that someone should write a biography about her experiences in coming up through the ranks of a very male-dominated world of cancer research. She told a number of stories, but at the time, I wasn’t thinking about the important story this would tell. I hope that your gift of memorabilia about her may someday be used to help write this story. So many of the people who could contribute to the story are now very old or already have passed away.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that your aunt had a strong influence on me and I truly appreciate the short part of my career that I was able to learn under her mentorship.
Diane W. Husic, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor, Department of Biological Sciences Audubon TogetherGreen Fellow Moravian College
It was lovely to receive this. And it makes me wonder about the many untold stories there are of people paving the way for others, mentors and teachers and just ordinary folks who might not think of themselves as making a difference. Gives me great hope, and a tinge of sadness and regret that I didn’t take more time to hear more of Leila’s stories before her death.