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Remembering Raclare, First Female Tau Beta Pi Profile of early female graduate Raclare Cordis Kanal, BS/ME 1954, marks Women’s History Month


IF THERE IS SUCH a thing as a “Renaissance woman,” it was Raclare Cordis Kanal, who earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona. While raising her family, she immersed herself in many scientific and cultural fields, from genealogy and botany to Mexican mariachi and photography.

In memory of Raclare, who died February 24, 2016, her husband of 55 years, Laveen Kanal, established the Raclare Cordis Kanal Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund. “I established this fund to inspire Raclare Cordis Kanal engineering students, in particular female students, with Raclare’s example, and to let the UA community learn about her unique life of learning, knowledge sharing and helping others,” said Laveen. Raclare, who has been widely honored for her volunteer work, became the first female member of the UA chapter of Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society in 1953, and was the only woman in her 1954 graduating class.




Governor, Senators, Legislators Honor Mary Poulton State political leaders express their appreciation of the College’s first woman department head upon her retirement.


AT A LUNCHEON in her honor, Mary Poulton was presented with a commendation from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, letters of appreciation from U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, proclamations from the Arizona House and Senate, and a certificate of excellence from Arizona State Mine Inspector Joe Hart. “Your contributions to education, mining engineering and support of businesses in these and related fields are greatly appreciated,” the governor’s commendation read in part.

Mary Poulton

Poulton is retiring as University Distinguished Professor in

Geosciences, Mining Engineering, Law and Public Health and director of the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources, after a 30-year career with the University of Arizona. After earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in geological engineering from the UA, Poulton joined the Department of Mining and Geological Engineering faculty in 1990. She later became department head, quadrupling its enrollment and growing diversity through her dedication to bringing more women and minorities into mining.

Student Seeks a Way to Do Laundry in Space

Senior Christina Morrison is trying to solve a down-to-earth problem for spacetravelers: how to clean their clothes.


ASTRONAUTS’ CLOTHES ADD significant weight to spacecraft, and water is too precious to be used for cleaning clothes, so recent chemical and environmental engineering graduate Christina Morrison is using her NASA Space Grant to find a space-worthy process for waterless laundry. Previous research has shown that silver and hydrogen peroxide, both germ-fighters, become a stronger disinfectant when combined. Morrison and UA professor of microbiology Charles Gerba have for the first time demonstrated this synergistic effect on textiles. They applied hydrogen peroxide to antimicrobial socks embroidered with silver-ion threads and exposed the treated material to Staphylococcus aureus. In one hour, Morrison and Gerba achieved about 99.999 percent reduction of the bacteria on treated antimicrobial socks, versus a 43.76

percent reduction on untreated silverion socks. “In a sense, we were washing the antimicrobial socks in hydrogen peroxide,” Morrison said. The next phase is human testing, with one group wearing antimicrobial socks or regular socks, then removing them for researchers to treat with hydrogen peroxide. A second group will smell the swatches. “We hope it won’t be too hard to find volunteers!” Morrison joked.

Cosmic Cleanup—Christina Morrison works in the lab on methods astronauts can use to clean their clothes.

Arizona Engineer | 2017 spring edition  
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