Spring/Summer Campaign; Laura Hoopes

Laura Hoopes

The Spring/Summer Campaign Introduces Writer Laura Hoopes!

About the Writer: Laura L Mays Hoopes is a first year student in the SDSU MFA Fiction program and Professor of Biology and Molecular Biology at Pomona College in Claremont, CA.  Laura has published articles and short stories in Christian Science Monitor, The Chaffin Journal, North Carolina Literary Review, and other venues. In spring, 2011, Laura will release Breaking Through the Spiral Ceiling, a memoir about growing up in the Eisenhower years, being recruited to science by Sputnik, falling in love with DNA, and crashing into gender-barriers in molecular biology.  She lives in Claremont, CA with her husband Michael.

Laura’s Publications:

Breaking Through the Spiral Ceiling: An American Woman Becomes a DNA Scientist, release date May 2, 2011.

Mixed Blessings and Other Short Stories, release date March 3, 2011.

About Upcoming Release:

In Breaking Through the Spiral Ceiling, Laura first finds marine ecology in Woods Hole on Cape Cod to be enticing.  She is denied an opportunity to cruise on the Atlantis because of she’s a girl,  meanwhile lectures on DNA lure her into molecular biology.  She pursues that field at Goucher, then a women’s college, and runs into more sexism in looking for a graduate school. She starts graduate study at Yale University.  She takes up a postdoctoral fellowship at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, CA and there meets and marries Richard Mays.  When he moves to Denver, CO, Laura follows him and there her son Lyle is born.  Meanwhile, Laura looks for an academic position and Richard plans to go to law school.  They move to Los Angeles where Laura becomes Assistant Professor at Occidental College.

Laura enjoys early days of setting up her NIH-funded research laboratory and working with her students.  Before Richard completes law school, he dies suddenly of a heart attack in the middle of the night.  Laura and Lyle have a hard time, but struggle through.  After four years, Laura goes to Baltimore to the Gerontology Research Center for sabbatical leave and meets Mike Hoopes.  He builds a relationship with Lyle, and Laura and Mike marry and move to California.  Mike gives up a civil service position to move.  

Laura encounters guilt at leaving her children for long periods as she builds her career.  She fights racism as the Altadena junior high school tries to give up on her son’s ability to learn English, a subject in which he always excelled, because he is black.  Lyle surprises Laura by getting himself admitted to a prestigious and tough prep school, and she is very proud of his achievement.

Laura rises through the ranks at Occidental College, discovering a role in the rising movement for undergraduate research through Council on Undergraduate Research, and facilitating Occidental’s high school science outreach program, TOPS.  (Sorry, she was there when Barry Obama was, but never had him in a class). She helps Occidental recruit John Slaughter, its first black president. Then she is hired as academic vice president and tenured biology professor at Pomona College, after 20 years at Occidental.  

Laura reflects on the role of chance and choice in making her career, and finds she is glad not to be a Harvard professor, although she once would have thought that was a worthy goal.  She reflects on the status and role of women as scientists in the US in the last chapter. 

Check Laura out online!




Purchase Laura’s Books today!



Look for an interview with Laure on May 26th  on The POV Lounge https://thepovlounge.wordpress.com


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