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Mary Harris

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Information about Mary Harris

Profile image of Mary Harris

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Health Researcher

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Barbecue (Ribs)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
All that glitters is not gold

Birthplace

Born:
6/26/1949
Birth Location:
Nashville, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Health Researcher

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Barbecue (Ribs)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
All that glitters is not gold

Birthplace

Born:
6/26/1949
Birth Location:
Nashville
See how Mary Harris is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Health researcher Mary Styles Harris was born on June 26, 1949 in Nashville, Tennessee. She later moved to Miami. Her father, George Styles, was finishing his studies at Meharry Medical College, and her mother, Margaret, had completed her degree in business administration at Tennessee State University. In 1963 Harris was one of the first African Americans to enter Miami Jackson High School. Four years later, she graduated 12th out a class of 350. Harris graduated from Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) in 1971, and then enrolled at Cornell University where she Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship to study molecular genetics. She graduated with her Ph.D. degree in 1975.

In 1977, Harris became the executive director of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, where she raised money to fight sickle-cell anemia and was in a position to inform the public about this very serious condition. Harris was awarded a Science Residency Award by the National Science Foundation. After a period spent in Washington, D.C. completing her Science Residency, Harris became the state director of Genetic Services for the Georgia Department of Human Resources. From this position, she could also influence health policies nationwide, and her advice was sought by health officials in other states. In addition to work in Genetic Services, Harris was a part-time assistant professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta and at Atlanta University. To make life even busier, the couple's daughter was born during this period. Then, Harris became founder and president of BioTechnical Communications, which actively focuses on health issues by producing audiovisual materials on such health topics as breast cancer, an issue of major concern among minority women.

Harris’ interest in preventive health care has led her to get involved in new born screening of Sickle-cell disease and sitting on the Atlanta board of the March of Dimes. Also, she has produced television and radio shows, and she hosts a radio show, “Journey To Wellness,” and has developed a documentary, “To My Sisters... A Gift For Life.” Harris has received several awards for her research and advocacy, including the National Cancer Research postdoctoral fellowship, the Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship, and the Outstanding Working Woman from Glamour magazine.

Mary Styles Harris was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 11, 2012.

See how Mary Harris is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Mary Harris' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Mary Harris lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Mary Harris describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Mary Harris describes her mother's life in Nashville
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Mary Harris describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Mary Harris talks about her parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Mary Harris describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Mary Harris talks about her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Mary Harris describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Mary Harris talks about her early life in Miami, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Mary Harris describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Mary Harris describes life in the Brownsville community of Miami in the 1950s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Mary Harris describes her childhood in Miami
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Mary Harris talks about the integration of Jackson High School in Miami
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Mary Harris talks about the problems with her grade school education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Mary Harris talks about television in the 1950s and 1960s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Mary Harris describes her childhood interest in science
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Mary Harris describes her experience in middle school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Mary Harris talks about African American political activism in the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Mary Harris talks about her father's death and the family's new business
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Mary Harris talks about Liberty City, Miami
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Mary Harris talks about President John F. Kennedy's assassination
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Mary Harris describes race relations in Miami in the 1950s and 1960s - part one
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Mary Harris describes the establishment of the Cuban community in Miami
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Mary Harris describes race relations in Miami in the 1950s and 1960s - part two
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Mary Harris describes the Bahamian community in Miami
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Mary Harris discusses Sidney Poitier
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Mary Harris describes her experience at Jackson High School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Mary Harris describes her science education at Jackson High School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Mary Harris describes her decision to attend Lincoln University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Mary Harris describes her experience at Lincoln University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Mary Harris describes the loss of private medical practices
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Mary Harris describes her decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree instead of a medical degree
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Mary Harris describes how she earned a Ford Foundation fellowship
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Mary Harris describes her experience as a doctoral student at Cornell University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Mary Harris describes her experience as a doctoral student at Cornell University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Mary Harris describes her Ph.D. dissertation research on the molecular mechanism of killer factor in yeast
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Mary Harris talks about being married in graduate school
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Mary Harris describes the challenges she experienced during her post-doctoral training at Rutger's Medical College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Mary Harris describes her role as an executive director of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Mary Harris describes her work in STEM-related programming in collaboration with the National Science Foundation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Mary Harris talks about Dr. James Bowman
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Mary Harris talks about receiving the Outstanding Working Woman Award
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Mary Harris describes her experience at the Georgia Department of Human Services
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Mary Harris talks about her documentary production, 'To My Sisters, A Gift For Life'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Mary Harris describes her work in television and radio broadcasting on science and health
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Mary Harris talks about the major health concerns in the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Mary Harris describes her television production, 'Keeping Up With The Walkers' - part one
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Mary Harris reflects upon her non-traditional career path in science
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Mary Harris describes the impact of her work in science communication - part one
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Mary Harris reflects upon her career
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Mary Harris reflects upon potential post-retirement pursuits
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Mary Harris describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Mary Harris talks about her family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Mary Harris reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Mary Harris reflects upon the people who influenced her life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Mary Harris talks about how she would like to be remembered