Recently, Kansas-native Emily Morgan was inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame. Long forgotten, Morgan was once known as the “Angel of Yukon,” and she is an inspiring example of the positive role for women in the field of medicine.
As we celebrate Women’s History Month this March, we recognize the incredible work of women like Morgan. Born in 1878 on a farm in Butler County Kansas, Morgan eventually became a nurse. After a stint in India and Panama, she served as a Red Cross nurse in France during World War I. Morgan is best known for her harrowing efforts to battle a diphtheria epidemic that nearly decimated the village of Nome, Alaska, in 1925.
In 2009, I became active in the National Foundation for Women Legislators, an organization that encourages young women to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. According to the National Science Foundation, women in these fields tend to earn more than their non-science peers.
In rural Kansas, I am excited to see the next generation of women leaders emerge. One example is Dr. Jennifer Brull, a family medicine physician in Plainville. Born in Oakley, Brull completed medical school at the University of Kansas before returning to the Hays area. Today, she is proud to treat neighbors and friends at her solo practice in Plainville, while simultaneously raising three children with her husband, Chris.
As Vice Chair of the Health and Public Welfare Committee in the Kansas Senate, I have a vested interest in seeing women excel in medicine. I also have a more personal connection. My daughter Haley is studying to be a doctor. Through the Scholars in Rural Health Care program at the University of Kansas, students like Haley will one day practice medicine in communities like Russell, Phillipsburg or Marysville.
While reflecting on the great strides of extraordinary women like Emily Morgan, let’s not forget the young women considering careers in science. By supporting their decisions, we empower the next generation of women leaders who will shape the future of Kansas.
Kansas State Senator (R-Concordia)