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Alumna Gail Nickerson

This oral history interview was conducted in 1995 by OSU Student Natasha Allaire for her Anthropology 498 Class with Dr. Joan Gross. In the narrative Gail Nickerson describes her life as a resident of Waldo Hall in the years 1957 and 1958. These interviews are part of an oral history of her time as a resident in Waldo Hall and are housed in the SCARC Oral History Collection. 

In part one of the Gail Nickerson interview she describes living in the all-girl Waldo Hall in 1957.

In part two Gail describes "flunking out" of college and going to work in the "Chem" lab in 1958.

In part three Gail talks about life as a world renowned researcher and international "HOP" expert.

Gail Nickerson can be seen pictured here in the 19589 Beaver yearbook. That's her in the middle row to the extreme right.  

She describes attending Oregon State when tuition was siixty-five dollars a term and room and board cost "something like $400."  

 "I was given five dollars a week allowance – even though cigarettes were just twenty-five cents a pack... it wasn’t enough to get by on." 

"There wasn’t student loans… and you didn’t need student loans ‘cause people would work."

"After the first term there was quite an exodus of students… some got married but some flunked out."

Gail was an active student. Here she can be seen in the Affiliates of the American Chemical Society.

"The employment opportunities (of my day) for women were nursing, stenographing, Home Economics... but that was about it." 

"I went to work in the chemistry lab – that was when I flunked out of school. So I begged and got hired on June 1st 1959." 


Gail is pictured here in the top row, third from the left.

"I don’t remember having  a woman professor." 

"Now when I see women in the departments in directing their own projects."