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WISE Awards to ARS Women

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) is a professional society of federally employed women. The organization makes three annual awards: one for contributions in science, one in engineering, and one for lifetime achievement. These awards honor women not only for their own accomplishments, but also for the career support they give other women.

Virginia H. Holsinger (1995) - Research chemist, ARS Eastern Regional Research Center (Philadelphia, PA) Holsinger received the WISE Lifetime Achievement Award for over 20 years of accomplishment in dairy product research and for aiding the advancement of other women in the fields of science and engineering.

Most recently, Holsinger and her colleagues successfully transferred to industry technology for producing low fat mozzarella cheese that melts and strings like the original product. After development of specifications, the new cheese is being purchased for use in the National School Lunch Program. Pizza topped with the low fat cheese will help meet dietary guidelines for lunches with less than 30 percent calories from fat.

Antoinette A. Betschart (1994) - Director, ARS Western Regional Research Center (Albany, California). Internationally known for improving the nutritional quality of cereal grains and legumes, Betschart established the nutritional quality of amaranth and led a scientific team that developed the rapid production of transgenic wheat, to speed improvements in wheat quality, nutritional value, and pest resistance.

Phyllis E. Johnson (co-winner, 1993) - Associate director, ARS Pacific West Area (Albany, California) Johnson invented a noninvasive technique to measure whole-body copper metabolism, showed that requirements for this element differ for men and women, and was the first to show that a specific nutrient—manganese—affects menstrual symptoms and volume.

Elizabeth L. Klepper (1991) - Plant physiologist, ARS Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center (Pendleton, Oregon)

One of the first scientists to measure the time lag between changes in field environment and changes in the energy status of water within intact field-grown plants. Klepper's work led to research that quantified resistance to water-flow within the plant and its root system.

Janice M. Miller (1990) - Veterinary medical officer, ARS National Animal Disease Center (Ames, Iowa) Miller and colleague Martin Van Der Maaten isolated and identified the bovine leukemia virus, developed a test for detection of infected cattle that has led to control of the virus in many parts of the world, and stimulated other research uncovering a virus that causes a similar type of cancer in humans.

Frances M. Latterell (1987) - Plant pathologist (retired), ARS Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit (Frederick, Maryland) Latterell received the WISE Lifetime Achievement Award for several scientific discoveries in her nearly 38 years of federal service. Her work with rice blast, the most devastating disease of rice, led to agreement among Asian and American rice pathologists on an international system to identify the different races of the pathogen that causes the disease. Latterell and a colleague identified the toxin victorin as the cause of Victoria blight of oats.

"WISE Awards to ARS Women" was published in the October 1995 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

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