Photo by Mackenzie Smith.
As a young scientist, Angela C. Little, professor emerita in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology (NST), repeatedly dealt with sexism in academia. In a recent article for California Magazine, a 100-year old Little recalls a difficult career path, in which she contended with discriminatory behavior from male colleagues.
"All in all, my years at Berkeley had ups and downs," she says. "It wasn’t always easy being a woman among a whole bunch of men."
Little first attended Berkeley in 1935 as an undergraduate student, studying biochemistry and bacteriology at a time when the scientific fields were overwhelmingly male. After obtaining her Bachelor's, Little worked as a lab technician and research chemist throughout the Bay Area, including at such prestigous laboratories as Stanford University’s Department of Medicine and UC San Francisco’s medical school. She became one of the first three women chemists at the Standard Oil of California research and development division.
Little returned to Berkeley to earn a Master’s degree in food science in 1951, before going on to complete a PhD in agricultural chemistry in 1969. Upon the completion of her dissertation, she joined the faculty of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, which later became NST. Her research focus was in human sensory systems and their relationship to food and color, among other subjects. She retired in 1985.