Marilyn Kouba is a true pioneer for women in the sciences at IIT. Kouba entered IIT as a junior in 1948, a time when there were not many women studying chemistry. She graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in 1950 and immediately went to work at G.D. Searle. After earning her master’s degree, Kouba went on to work as an instructor at Harold Washington College in Chicago, eventually serving as the chair of its physical science department. She worked for the City Colleges of Chicago for more than 31 years.
Kouba attributes much of her success to her IIT education. For example, she says, “I was given the position [at G.D. Searle] because of IIT’s reputation.” Throughout her career, she returned to IIT to take classes, teach, or just connect with friends—and she still visits for lectures, conferences, and events. An IIT President’s Council member who has supported laboratory improvements here, Kouba received an IIT Alumni Service Award in 2007.