Y&E Composer Competition Winner

Grace Brigham is a composer specializing in choral and vocal music. She currently studies with Justin Merritt at St. Olaf College, where she also plays the violin and sings in various ensembles. In addition, she sang for five years with the Washington National Cathedral Choir, having the opportunity to perform for the likes of Joe Biden and Barack Obama. The Cathedral Choristers, as well as many ensembles at St. Olaf, are currently performing her music. After college, she plans to attend graduate school for choral composition.

Text of “Discoveries”

“The way of progress was never swift nor easy” – Marie Curie

“Very little can be done under the spirit of fear”
“We dream ‘til we no longer have the strength to dream those dreams against which we so struggle, those dreams go at last” – Florence Nightingale

“Prejudice is more violent the blinder it is” – Elizabeth Blackwell

“Fearfully, cautiously, and distrustingly must we take many of our steps, for we see a little way at best, and we can foresee nothing at all” – Maria Mitchell

“But our best and wisest refuge from our troubles is in our science” – Ada Lovelace

“We have a hunger of the mind. The more we gain, the more is our desire” – Maria Mitchell

“Let each defeat be a source of a new endeavor, and each victory the strengthening of our spirit” – Euphemia Haynes

“The breath of a nation’s progress” – Maria Mitchell

We still need more progress.

About the scientists

Marie Curie (1867-1934) was a French/Polish chemist and physicist; she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, which she won twice in two different sciences. She studied radioactivity extensively and discovered the elements polonium and radium.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is known as the pioneer of modern nursing. She trained nurses and treated wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, and later founded a nursing school in London. She was also a writer and social activist, advocating for (among other things) women’s rights and healthcare improvement.

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) was the first female medical doctor in the U.S., and the only medical school that accepted her did so because the male students there voted to let her in. She went on to give lectures advocating for female education, founded a hospital with her sister, and aided in organizing nurses during The Civil War.

Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) was the first professional American female astronomer. She discovered a comet in 1847, which she later received a gold medal for. After learning that she was paid significantly less than her male colleagues while working as a professor at Vassar, she demanded a salary increase and her superiors gave it to her.

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of Lord and Lady Byron, was a British writer and computer programmer. She created the first algorithm to be carried out by Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a proposed mechanical computer. She is recognized as the first to realize the full potential of computers.

Euphemia Haynes (1890-1980) was the first African-American woman to earn a PhD in math. She spent 47 years teaching in D.C. public schools and became the first female chair of the D.C. Board of Education. She was also granted the Papal decoration of honor by Pope John XXIII.