Nellie May Naylor

Honored by:The Chemistry Department, and Maxine Merrick and Betty B Molle
Brick location:PAVER:40 and B:19  map

Honored by the Chemistry Department

Paver Inscription:

Lola Placeway
Nellie Naylor
Rachel Edgar
Martha Russell
Kathleen Trahanovsky
Patricia Thiel
Therese Cotton"

Honored by Maxine Merrick and Betty B Molle

I don't need to justify why Dr. Nellie May Naylor deserves to be included in the Plaza of Heroines. Dr. Naylor's outstanding career and her contribution to Iowa State University has been well documented and is on file at the ISU Chemistry Department.

I am honoring her because after sixty years I still remember her as the professor who did the most to instill confidence in me that I could master the required subjects, particularly chemistry, to obtain a degree in Foods and Nutrition with a major in Dietetics.

I came from a small town in northern Iowa. Chemistry was not taught in the high school and I was worried I couldn't keep up with students who had had high school chemistry. My worries were unfounded. Dr. Naylor made Freshman Chemistry so interesting and easy to understand that I knew I could compete with the other students. I never looked back.

I did not know Dr. Naylor personally but I never forgot her. Fortunately for me in 1931 she was still doing the lecturing in the class room.

-Maxine Merrick



The woman I would like to honor is Nellie Naylor. Miss Naylor was my 106 Chemistry teacher when I attended Iowa State College in 1948. She was also my Mother's Chemistry teacher when she attended Iowa State many years earlier. My mother died when I was 13 months old and I don't have any memories of her so I think this is one reason we had a special bond. I found this out from an Aunt who had also attended Iowa State.

I had not had chemistry in high school and I was rather lost. I took chemistry 105 and didn't really know what I was doing. I took chemistry 106 and had Miss Naylor and she passed me with a D. I was majoring in home economics education and had several more chemistry courses ahead of me so I decided to take 106 over again and see if I could get a better understanding. I got Miss Naylor again. she looked at me the first day in class llike, "haven't I seen you before?" but she didn't say anything about it. She asked me a question that day and I told her I didn't know the answer. She looked at me long and hard and asked me why I didn't know. I felt very uneasy about it, she then broke into a smile and we worked through it together. She taught me to think it through and to analysize. Believe me, I knew after that not to say I don't know-- but to be better prepared and to think it through. I ended the course being good friends with her and having a good foundation for the rest of my chemistry courses. She really was an inspiration to me and I'm happy to take this opportunity of honoring her. I'm sure she was an inspiration to others also.

-Betty B Molle

updated: 03/2014