Outstanding Alumnae of 2016

Linda Lael ’66

Service to the College

Linda Lael graduated from Agnes Scott in 1966. After graduating, she taught high school English and mathematics for 35 years, primarily in Pensacola, with a year spent in England on a Fulbright exchange. In 1976, Lael began identifying prospective students for ASC and bringing them to campus. At the same time she was serving as an alumnae admissions representative along the Gulf Coast, attending college fairs and hosting prospective student functions for the college for 25 years. Her volunteer recruitment efforts on behalf of the college led countless students to enroll at ASC. During these years she also served as class president and secretary, and she served three terms on the Alumnae Board as AAR chair and treasurer. 

After retiring from teaching, she moved to Decatur and became active with the Decatur Chapter, serving as treasurer for a number of years. From 2002 to 2008, Lael came to work at the college and served as the coordinator of the Woodruff Scholars Program, and also functioned as counselor for transfer students applying for admission. Since retiring from that second career, Lael is still involved with the Decatur Chapter and her class of 1966.

Jane Alsobrook Miller ’48

Service to the Community

Jane Alsobrook Miller received her B.A. from Agnes Scott College with a major in chemistry in 1948. She was awarded an M.S. in chemistry by Tulane University in 1950 and was appointed to its faculty, where she taught from 1950 to 1952, primarily at Sophie Newcomb College. Her professional career included research in biochemistry at Washington University Medical School in the Departments of Pharmacology and Orthopedic Surgery. She has been a substitute teacher in the local public schools and served on the faculties of Fontbonne College and the University of Missouri—St. Louis from 1965 to 1992, retiring as an associate professor of chemistry and education emerita. She was the first woman to be hired by the chemistry department and the first woman to receive tenure there. 

Miller has always been involved with the interests of women. Her research and most of her publications were on women in chemistry and education. At UMSL, she was a founder of the women’s group of faculty and staff, fighting discrimination on campus. In 1971, she filed a complaint with the EEOC against the university, which led to equalization of hiring, salary, teaching loads, committee assignments, etc. on all four campuses, as well as to the hiring of EEO officers to monitor these areas. This action affected thousands of employees in the state. In the ’70s, she was a founder of the Math Science Network of Greater St Louis, a group of science professionals, whose goals were to recruit more women into science and to emphasize the importance of studying math. The group held a conference annually for high school and middle school girls, attracting as many as 900 students.

Miller was also active at the local and national levels with the American Chemical Society, serving as the Historian and head of the education group of the local section and as a member of the Women Chemists Committee and as chair of the History of Chemistry Division on the national level. She was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the local public library. She was also elected as president of the Board of the Friends of the Library. She was elected to chair the Trustees and Citizens Division of the Missouri Library Association and then elected president of the association. She was also active in the History of Science and Technology Society, serving as chair and as secretary-treasurer for many years.

Mary Brown Bullock ’66

Distinguished Career

Mary Brown Bullock is a 1966 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Agnes Scott, and she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Chinese history from Stanford University. From 2012 to 2015 she served as the inaugural executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China. Earlier she served as distinguished visiting professor of Chinese studies at Emory University, director of the Asia program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and director of the Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People’s Republic of China at the National Academy of Sciences. From 1995 to 2006 she was president of Agnes Scott College and returned in 2015 to serve on the college’s Board of Trustees.

Bullock serves as vice chair of The Asia Foundation (San Francisco), as a director of the Henry Luce Foundation (New York), the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations (New York) and Genuine Parts Company (Atlanta) and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (New York). From 2004 to 2014 she chaired the China Medical Board. She has also chaired the Women’s College Coalition and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and served as vice chair of the Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education, on the executive committee of the Annapolis Group and as a director of the American Council on Education.

She has been honored with the National Academy of Sciences Staff Award for Distinguished Service, the Elizabeth Luce Moore Visionary Leadership Award, the YWCA of Greater Atlanta Women of Achievement Award and the Athena Award by the Athena Foundation. Most recently, she co-edited Medical Transitions in 20th Century China (2014), and her book was published The Oil Prince’s Legacy: Rockefeller Philanthropy in China (2011).

Bullock and her husband, George, a government relations consultant for the utilities industry, have two children, Graham, a faculty member at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., and Ashley, a psychologist in Charleston, S.C. The Bullocks have two grandsons.

Wasfia Nazreen ’06

Outstanding Young Alumna

Wasfia Nazreen ’06 is a Bangladeshi activist, aid worker, writer and mountaineer. Nazreen left Bangladesh at age 17, when she traveled to the United States on an academic scholarship to Agnes Scott. Since pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in studio art, with a minor in psychology, Nazreen has had a decade-long international career in development, research, advocacy, human rights and environmental work. She has always used her voice and position to advocate for the protection of this earth, sustainability and indigenous wisdom of living. She has worked and campaigned extensively for livelihoods and rights of sex workers (in a society where they are severely ostracized and abused), people living under occupied forces and refugees without a nation.

When Bangladesh turned 40 years old in 2011, Nazreen launched a campaign called “Bangladesh on Seven Summits” to celebrate the monumental progress of her nation’s women and embarked on an independently supported journey to climb the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. In November 2015, she became the first Bangladeshi and only Bengali in the world to have reached the summit of the highest mountains of each of the seven continents, popularly known as the Seven Summits, through the Messner Variation (which is considered the harder route), after overcoming enormous societal, political and economic barriers. 

National Geographic Society (Nat Geo) honored Nazreen as a 2014-15 Adventurer of the Year for her “activism and commitment to empowering women through her work in the field of adventure.” This year, for her pioneering work through her foundation, “Ösel Bangladesh,” she was again chosen as a 2016 Emerging Explorer. She will be honored this summer for helping shape the future of exploration by spreading Nat Geo’s mission of inspiring people to care about the planet. She is the only Bangladeshi and only female in the long history of National Geographic to be among this prestigious and until now a predominantly male list of honorees.