Wonderful Women Wednesday: Dr. Maria A. Faust

Each week, the Archives features a woman who has been a groundbreaker at the Smithsonian, past or present, in a series titled Wonderful Women Wednesday.

Dr. Maria A. Faust was a microbiologist and research botanist who specialized in tropical marine dinoflagellate taxonomy and ecology at the Smithsonian between 1973 until her retirement in 2009. She began her career at the Smithsonian with the Radiation Biology Laboratory until it merged with the Chesapeake Bay Center for Environmental Studies to form the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in 1983. Faust worked at SERC until 1987, when she joined the National Museum of Natural History’s Botany Department. 

Throughout her career, Faust published 120 research papers and was awarded for her work. In 2004, she won the Award of Excellence by the Phycological Society of America, and, in 2010, Faust was the co-winner of the Tyge Christensen Award by the International Phycological Society. 

Faust earned her Ph.D. in aquatic microbiology from the University of Maryland in 1970, a master’s degree in microbiology from Rutgers University in 1962, and a bachelor’s degree from the Agricultural University in Budapest in 1951.

Born in Hungary, Faust immigrated to the United States following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956

Faust holds her hands clasped in front of her. She is not smiling at the camera.

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