Though born Cleveland (OH), I was raised in New York City, graduated from Hunter College High School and then majored in mathematics at Hunter College, while teaching parttime there as well.
After getting M.S. at Columbia University (who did not "give" Ph.D.s to women), I went to the University of Chicago to study with Leonard Dickson, receiving a Ph.D. for my dissertation Division algebras associated with an equation whose group has four generators.
WWII interupted my teaching at Hunter College, as I worked as an executive assistant with the Applied Mathematics Panel in the Office of Scientific Research and Development, an interdisciplinary group that worked on diverse military problems.
After the war, the Navy invited me to direct the mathematics branch of the Office of Naval Research, which supported scientific and mathematical research.
In the mid1950's, I returned to Hunter College, where I taught mathematics and was Dean of the Faculty...then moved to become the first Graduate Dean in the newly established City University of New York.
One of my real claims to fame is my election to became the first woman president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science....and was awarded the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal.
Answer:
Mina Spiegel Rees (1902  1997)
