Microbiologist Agnes A. Day was born on July 20, 1952 in Plains, Georgia to Annie Lee Laster and David Laster. The youngest of thirteen children, Day was raised by her third-grade teacher, Reverend Mrs. Rose Marie Bryon. Day’s interest in science began when she and her older brother would walk through the woods catching insects and animals. After graduating from Mainland Sr. High School, Day attended Bethune-Cookman College in Florida where she received her B.S. degree in biology. Day then attended Howard University, graduating with her Ph.D. degree in microbiology in 1984.
After obtaining her graduate degree, Day became a research fellow in the Bone Research Branch at the National Institute of Dental Research, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She left in 1988 to join the faculty at Howard University as an assistant professor. Since 1992, Day has served as a tenured associate professor of microbiology in the College of Medicine at Howard University. She also has held the position of chair of the department of microbiology. In addition to instructing students in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and coordinating graduate courses, Day is known for her research on drug-resistant fungi and breast cancer health disparities. She serves as a Scientific Reviewer for research grants submitted to the National Institutes of Health, The National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense Cancer Research Initiatives. Day is in demand as a science expert, having been interviewed as part of a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) special and TheGrio’s Black History series. In addition, she has served on numerous panels as a scientific expert in microbiology and breast cancer research.
In 1995, Day was awarded the Outstanding Research Award by the Howard University College of Medicine. She has also received the College’s Kaiser-Permanente Outstanding Teaching Award, and has mentored over forty students. Day is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and sits on its Minorities in Cancer Research and Women in Cancer Research committees. She is also a member of the American Society for Microbiology where she is a member of the Committee on Microbiological Issues which Impact Minorities (CMIIM). Day received the William A. Hinton Award for outstanding research mentoring from this organization in 2011. She also served as a consultant for the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Black Churches-Black Colleges program. Day lives in Washington, D.C.
Agnes Day was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 4, 2012.