Alice Augusta Ball, (1892-1916) began her regrettably short career while obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Pharmacy, and published a 10-page article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society with the help of her pharmacy instructor (1). At the time, this achievement was remarkable not only as a woman but also as a Black person, considering the significant challenges faced by both marginalized communities during this period. For historical context, the Voting Rights Act, which gave Black and African-American women the right to vote freely, was not passed until 1965, 49 years after her death (4).
After graduation, Ball pursued her Master’s Degree in Chemistry at the University of Hawaii, where she studied chaulmoogra oil and its properties. While this oil was used at the time to treat leprosy, it lost efficacy when applied or injected (1). Ball found a solution to this problem by isolating the active compounds from the oil and modifying them to be water-soluble, allowing them to be easily absorbed by the human body while still remaining therapeutic (1).