Patricia Diane Cummisford

Honored by:Patricia Diane Cummisford
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Student and Scientist:

One of 40 national winners in the 10th Annual Westinghouse Science Talent Search 1951.

B.S. Foods and Nutrition and Related Sciences Iowa State University 1955

M.S. Foods and Nutrition Michigan State University 1957

National Science Foundation Fellowship 1955-1958

University of Illinois Fellowship 1958-1960

Instructor Foods and Nutrition Iowa State University 1960-1961

Research Scientist General Mills Inc. 1961 – 1980. Developed 3 patented processes (assigned to General Mills Inc.): Method of Preparing Puffed Cereal Product U.S. No. 3464828 (9-2-69) Cl. 99-82; Soy Food Product U.S. No. 3627537 (12-14-71) Cl. 99-88); Double Expanded Food Products U.S. No. 3703379 (11-21-72) Cl. 99-81.000.

Activst and Advocate:

The named-plaintiff in class-action lawsuit filed 1978 against General Mills Inc. concerning failure to pay and promote women. Settled with approval of the Court in 1986. Eligible class members were 83 employees.

One of 8 organizers of Les Soeurs an action-support group for persons experiencing employment discrimination in 1978.

 One of 50 founders of Minnesota Women's Consortium in 1980. It is a coalition of 167 diverse member organizations who support equality for women and serves as an information source to educate and activate citizens and public policy makers.

 During 1980-81 Minnesota legislative session proposed testified and argued changes to Minnesota Human Rights Act to inter alia provide direct action in Court (by-pass agency process) and provide monetary damages for mental pain and anguish (recognizing damages are not only lost pay). Not until 1991 were emotional damages recognized in Title VII the Federal parallel law.

 During 1982 and 1983 served as an attorney under the student practice rules with Hamline Law School Public Interest Advocacy Clinic. The "client" was the University of Minnesota Faculty Advisory Committee for Women which assisted faculty who were making claims under the Rajender Decree from Federal Court concerning discrimination at the University of Minnesota.

J.D. (Juris Doctor) Hamline University School of Law 1983; Licensed Attorney (Minnesota) 1983 - present (1995); Enforcement Officer Minnesota Department of Human Rights 1984-1985; Attorney in private practice limited to employee rights representation.

 During 1983-84 Minnesota legislative session proposed testified and argued change to Minnesota Human Rights Act to require compensatory damages in an amount up to three times the actual damages. The change was based on an analogy to antitrust law with the employer being the powerful economic force controlling the marketplace of jobs. Plaintiffs have been benefitted by this and the law has never been overturned or deemed unconstitutional.

During 1994 and 1995 volunteered experience in problem identification solution strategies and understanding of agency legislative and judicial processes to Workplace Justice Committee a group affiliated with the Minnesota Women's Consortium. Responsible for generating 4 of 9 Action steps concerning work included in the 1994-95 Minnesota Women's Economic Action Plan of the Consortium. Workplace Justice Committee has met with community groups and agency (EEOC and other civil rights local agencies) administrators to define problem procedures and circumstances and has conducted seminars for the public on discrimination at work.

Careers and Change:

An inquisitive questioning and reflective approach to situations coupled with use of deductive and inductive reasoning logic creative problem solving and scientific method of analysis have served both the scientific and legal careers and achievements. Problems offer challenges as well as opportunities. Take the initiative to make positive changes in the world.