Earlham College opened Libby Yunger's eyes to subjects that changed her future. Today, she provides opportunities for current students to also think outside the box.
At Earlham in the 1960s, Libby chose biology to meet a core curriculum requirement. She was curious—her high school hadn't had a bio lab.
"I guess I had an existential experience dissecting a rat," Libby exclaims. "It suddenly struck me that inside we were both the same, and the real miracle is life itself."
A desire to better understand how we could start from a single cell and end up as complex organisms prompted Libby to change her major from political science to biology.
As a senior, Libby worked in the Richmond State Hospital psych department, where she realized that the patients had true physiological diseases of the brain that she wanted to study. Essentially, she wanted to be a neuroscientist before the discipline existed. Although many faculty members tried, no one could suggest a viable path to her career goals.
After graduating from Earlham in 1966, Libby ultimately received a doctorate in physiological psychology—and then wrote neuroscience on her resume. She found a way to have the career she wanted as a scientist.
Creating Life Experiences
Now retired, Libby created the Libby Yunger Academic Opportunity Endowed Fund with a gift and will also direct the remainder of her estate to the fund. The fund helps pay for science students to explore career-building opportunities outside of Earlham.
"I think it's important for young people to obtain life experience while they're still in college in those areas that they might want to pursue as a career," says Libby, who lives in St. Louis.