Wayne County Sheriff Connection

News & Updates from The Wayne County Sheriffs Office
Spring 2022 Edition

Message From Sheriff Washington

The last two years feel like a blur some days, don’t they? They seemed to drag along, but somehow flew by at the same time. It’s truly been a struggle, but we have powered through this pandemic and I’m proud of the way the men and women of Wayne County have stayed stalwart. We have never stopped working. I appreciate the hustle and dedication each one of you have been bringing during such a strange and challenging time in our world’s history. It has not gone unnoticed.

With Spring and Summer upon us, hopefully we are now navigating through the end of this crisis. If we continue this downward trend, I’m hopeful that the all-too-common Zoom meeting and fear of being too close will return to more in-person laughter and hugs, Friday afternoon cocktails with friends or Sunday barbecues with family members that we have all missed so dearly. We have all lost so much during this pandemic, but I remain faithful that our future is joyous and exciting.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this newsletter and learn a bit more about what we’ve been doing here at the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office – and outside of it! I hope you can get to know some of us a little better and develop a greater understanding of the important roles and responsibilities so many of us have within the department and the community. Be sure to send us your feedback and let us know what you would like to see here as well!

Let’s keep up the excellent work,

Raphael “Ray” Washington
Wayne County Sheriff

Mission Statement

The responsibility of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is to maintain the highest standard of integrity and professional excellence and to protect the lives and property of Wayne County citizens while objectively enforcing local and state laws.  It is our duty to serve our community and provide a secure, safe, and humane environment for inmates remanded to our jails.  It is our mission to provide our staff and the public fair and equal treatment and protection, and to strengthen the public’s trust through continued transparency and accountability.



Civil Process Payments

Did You Know?

Civil Process Payments Can Now be taken Online at the following site

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office is Hiring

There is no higher calling than to work as a professional deputy with the mission of protecting the lives and property of everyday citizens. It takes a special individual to accept the challenge and responsibility of working as a sheriff’s deputy.

Visit Our recruitment Page for More Information


Captain Rachael Moore
Lieutenant Jeffrey Boyle
Lieutenant Ciara Holt
Lieutenant Deborah Martin
Lieutenant Larry Dickey
Jacqueline Bailey – Dept. Executive
David Felton – Recruiter


Captain Parrish Bush
Corporal Thaddeus Knight
Jody Adams – Painter
Joseph Budzinski – Manager


Corporal Yolanda Tardy
Corporal Marie Colangelo
Corporal Reginald Crawford


Sergeant Michael Hill
Corporal Dennis Jackson
Sergeant Jacqueline Thompson
Corporal Damon Creighton
Corporal James Jackson
Corporal Andre Stinson
Corporal Tracei Robinson
Corporal Patryck Wolfrum

(CLASS OF 03-22)

Muhammad Abbas – Part-Time Officer
Garo Daryousef
Ryan Allen
Kenneth Beard
Jerome Brown
Alexander Pryor
Austin Edmond
Lee Gatson Jr.
Clifton Jackson
Phyllis Johnson
Luke Marhefka
Kaedoe Young
Deonte Turner
Timothy Stoner
Nicole Sorrell
Bijan Outlaw
Luis Martinez
Victoria L. Maybin
Christopher Svoboda
Ramiro Sauceda


Ashley Miller – Clerical Specialist
Larica Smith – Clerical Specialist
Karen Williams – Service Worker
Joseph Gathe – Clerk
Jonathan Turner – Project Consultant
Valerie Johnson – Clerical Specialist
JoAnn Abdenour – Secretary 2
Brittany Turner – Service Worker
Regina Banks-Hall – Director of Grants
Jeremiah Mars – Clerk
Raymond Johnson – Project Consultant


Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy

Apply for the next Citizens Academy!!
For Additional Information about the Academy contact Regina Parks

2022 Easter Marshmallow Helicopter Drop




The Jail Dashboard is an interactive tool that provides information from the Wayne County Jail’s management system. It is updated every day and provides summary information about the current inmate population including the demographic makeup of current jail inmates, the types of supervised facilities, how long inmates have stayed, their types of Bookings and Arrest Types, Housing availability, and counts of inmates released from County supervision. Wayne County Sheriff’s Office receives a lot of questions about the jail population. This tool was created in an effort to be transparent with the public about the characteristics of our supervised population and to answer some of the common questions we receive about our inmates.

The Wayne County Jail Dashboard is powered by generous grant support from the Hudson-Webber Foundation and the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network.

The Dashboard will be available to view within the next few weeks.  Visit sheriffconnect.com frequently to check the live status of the dashboard.


Cpl. Shannon Harmon –Training Instructor/Administrator

Interview with Erika Erickson

Meet Shannon Harmon

How did you get into this profession?

“I just was not focused in college and was part of Army ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corp.) and I liked the structure, so I thought criminal justice would be a good fit for me,” said Corporal Shannon Harmon, “So, I changed my major.” Fun fact: While learning about forensic anthropology and human identification, she studied abroad in college at the University of London and Cambridge University.   

What is a typical day like for you?

“It varies. Some days I’ll start in the classroom teaching… and it depends on the class. Some classes are lecture-type things and a lot of question and answer, and some, like the defensive tactics, you’ll have a little bit of classroom material and then the rest is primarily hands-on.” Days when Cpl. Harmon is in the office, she goes through a lot of emails, as she’s responsible for all the training requests that go through the agency. “I field a lot of the questions that come across with virtual academy.”  

What do you like most about teaching?

“It’s kind of funny because I was never one that liked to teach. I have anxiety about being in front of a classroom and it’s not something I really ever wanted to do!” But Cpl. Harmon says Commander Fredryn Allen saw something in her and asked her to give it a shot. “And I actually agreed to do it with the understanding that we could go at my pace in front of a class and get used to it, and it just turned out that I’m decent at it,” she said with a humble chuckle. “A lot of people just want to say, ‘here’s your job, just do it’ without giving any guidance, and I feel like being able to teach them and help guide and try to steer people on the right path – it’s just a nice thing to do. I enjoy it.”

What are some of your hobbies?

“I really like to ride my bike and swim. I’ve done three half-distance triathlons, so I enjoy practicing for those.” Cpl. Harmon admits she’s “not really into the running part!” She’s also deeply involved with her church: “I love to sing, so I’m part of the church choir.” She’s also part of her church’s security team. Cpl. Harmon is a single mom to a teen boy and girl – 16-year-old Tommy and 13-year-old Sammy. She loves getting involved with them in sports and spending time with them whenever she can. She can’t wait for a nice summer bonfire and chow down on some S’mores with them!

Who has been a role model in your life?

“My parents… I’ve looked up to them quite a bit.” Working in narcotics early on in her career, Cpl. Harmon said she has always looked up to Sergeant Pierce and Lieutenant DelDuco, and now being at the training unit: “Commander Allen is one that always pushed me to teach and Lieutenant O’Rourke – I look at both of them and their structure and their leadership and I really admire it.”  

What are three things on your bucket list right now?

Cpl. Harmon said she would like to travel more (she would like to visit London, Ireland, Scotland, and Hawaii again) and spend as much time as possible with her family and friends.

Staying up late or waking up early?

“Definitely staying up late. I am NOT a morning person!”  

Favorite singer or group?

“I like Lecrae. I really do.”  

Favorite food you could eat forever and ever:

“I’m a burger and fries kinda girl!”  

Hidden Talents:

Cpl. Harmon is a fantastic cake decorator!  ALSO, Cpl. Harmon played the trumpet in the MSU Spartan Marching Band!

What advice would you give to new recruits?

“You have to know yourself. There’s no problem to sit and say, ‘hey this isn’t for me.’ And it’s better if you notice it early than to get into a bad position inside the jail. A lot of people come in a little shy, skittish, maybe they’re not structured and used to discipline, but just because you’re quiet (I’m generally a quiet person) – that doesn’t mean you can’t take it to the next level, if need be,” Cpl. Harmon said, enthusiastically. “You need to learn to talk to people, and the jail, honestly, is a great place to learn to talk to people because you’re going to deal with a lot of types of individuals.”  

What did you learn working in the jail?

Cpl. Harmon said she learned a lot of patience and compassion. “Instead of thinking about [inmates] as their charge, I try to remember they’re innocent until proven guilty,” she said. “And they’re human beings… We’ve all done things that could’ve landed us in a bad place. We’ve all made mistakes. Everybody’s done something in their life that could have landed them in jail… you never know if these people are truly guilty or not, so I try to treat everybody fair and consistent and in a professional manner… Because whether it’s conscious or unconscious your personality towards them is going to change.” 

What did you learn working in the jail?

Cpl. Harmon said she learned a lot of patience and compassion. “Instead of thinking about [inmates] as their charge, I try to remember they’re innocent until proven guilty,” she said. “And they’re human beings… We’ve all done things that could’ve landed us in a bad place. We’ve all made mistakes. Everybody’s done something in their life that could have landed them in jail… you never know if these people are truly guilty or not, so I try to treat everybody fair and consistent and in a professional manner… Because whether it’s conscious or unconscious your personality towards them is going to change.” 

Harmon also reminds herself of this often:  

“It’s never too late to start something new. I didn’t start doing triathlons ‘til I turned 40,” she said. Cpl. Harmon said she didn’t start choir until her adult years either and is now interested in weight training and CrossFit. “Don’t be afraid just put yourself out there and try! And ask questions if you don’t know along the way!” 

Deputy Chief Lynnette O. Cain

Interview with Erika Erickson

Meet Deputy Chief Lynnette O. Cain

What is your position here and how long have you been with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO)?

Deputy Chief Lynnette O. Cain has been with the WCSO for 25 years. She started the path that would lead her to the WCSO at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) when she entered the summer pre-engineering program 16 years old.  After three-and-a-half years, D.C. Cain discovered engineering wasn’t for her, so she changed her major to Sociology and earned her Bachelor of Arts in 1996.  D.C. Cain also has a Master of Science in Business Administration from Madonna University.

D.C. Cain started her career with the WCSO in 1997 at Jail Division 1.  In 2002, she went to the Wayne County Airport Police unit weeks after her graduation from the WCSO Police Academy, and then to the Highland Park Patrol unit in 2003.  While there, she was promoted to Police Sergeant soon after her 30th birthday.  D.C. Cain noted that “I came back downtown to my home at Division 1” upon her promotion to Police Lieutenant in 2007.  She was promoted to Police Commander in 2011 and commanded all three WCSO jails (as well as Court Services) before her current promotion in December of 2021 to Deputy Chief.

What is a day in the life of someone in your position?

With a chuckle, D.C. Cain said, “lots of emails, lots of zooms, lots of phone calls and lots of decision-making.”  She said she has always liked “brain work” and challenges and there are a lot of those responsibilities as a Deputy Chief. 

What are some of your hobbies?

D.C. Cain is a co-founder and the Executive Director of Opportunity Tennis Academy (OTA) which is a non-profit (501c3) organization. Its mission is “to provide an OPPORTUNITY for children from all neighborhoods to play tennis while developing character traits to complete in LIFE.”  D.C. Cain took her son to the Dearborn Racquet Club at four years old for tennis lessons, and after a couple of years, noticed there weren’t a lot of kids taking lessons who looked like him.  D.C. Cain is from the Western-Wayne area (Romulus/Inkster) where she grew up in subsidized housing, so she understands the lack of opportunities for residents, as well as children in the area.  She started talking to another family who was also from the area about bringing tennis to their neighborhoods. This is how OTA was born.  It is now an organization approved by the United States Tennis Association as both a Community Tennis Association and a National Junior Tennis & Learning organization, which has introduced tennis to more than 100 student-athletes since 2019.  Over the summer, OTA practices at Stottlemeyer Park in Westland (in the historic Annapolis Park), which has two wonderful tennis courts on the street where her grandparents’ house is located and where she spent many summers. In 2021, OTA had their best summer camp ever with 44 student-athletes in attendance: “It was a blast to see kids all over the place and families — at a place where I grew up,” D.C. Cain said.

Facebook: Opportunity Tennis Academy
Ages: 4-17
Email: opportunitytennis@gmail.com

What are your favorite TV shows?

D.C. Cain laughed. “I am a police officer, right, so I get to watch whatever I want to watch! In general, I go to the horror… some blood and gore. I do like foreign films and don’t mind if I have to read subtitles.” D.C. Cain said she likes to experience the way other cultures live. Watching TV, and in particular, sports, is one of her favorite hobbies.  She added, “I told my son, if he can handle watching TV while doing his work and his chores, he can watch some TV too, but he can’t manage them both. I can manage them both!”

If you weren’t working at the WCSO, where would you see yourself?

“I would probably be doing something with sports. I’m just a huge sports fan.  An athletic director somewhere.” 

Who has been a role model in your life?

“It would be my family.  The Cain name means something.  It’s very important.”

What are three things on your bucket list right now?

“I want to go to Alaska. I love the snow. Winter is my favorite season. I wouldn’t mind living in an igloo for a day – see what that’s about. And I want to go to Wimbledon!”  D.C. Cain said she has never been to see the Red Wings before but plans to, so she can say she’s seen all the Detroit professional sports teams in person. 

What do you and your family like to do together?

D.C. Cain has a wife, Aleaah, a 10-year-old son, Kai, and a 25-year-old stepson, Nikhil. Their favorite thing to do together: “pre-Covid, we did a family vacation every year. The week of July 4th – my family and my best friend’s family normally pick a place to go, and we go anywhere from five days to a week. Normally between 14-16 of us stay in a house together, and it’s great!”  In the meantime, they’ve carved out Fridays as family dinner night during Covid. “It’s been very pleasant and very good to take that time to sit down.” 

What advice would you give to new recruits?

“People should never be afraid to ask questions,” said D.C. Cain.  “Sometimes the Corporals would say, ‘Cain, are you over here to ask me another question?’ And I’m like, ‘yes, I am,’” she said with a laugh. “But they got used to me… they would volunteer the information and they would, you know, help me get it right.”  D.C. Cain added that honesty and integrity go a long way in this job as well and that officers should never forget to be themselves.

How do you stay so optimistic?

D.C. Cain quoted her son, who once said, “Mama thinks she can do anything.” She said her response to him was, “I do, and I’m hoping to pass that on to you. You can do anything. Anything is possible. You might have a bad day today, but guess what? Tomorrow is coming. You are going to be all right. There’s nothing that you can’t do. Nothing that you can’t get past.” 

Jerome Pokorney - Director of Finance

Interview with Erika Erickson

Meet Jerome Pokorney

What is your position here and how long have you been with the WCSO?

“I haven’t gone on a job interview in a while!” Jerome Pokorney, who usually goes by “Jerry,” has worked with the county since 1996 and with the Sheriff’s Office since 2003. He has been in his current position for the last 7 years.

What do you enjoy most about your position?

Pokorney said it’s simple: he loves working with numbers. “In high school, I tested out of math for college.” He received a free ride at Wayne State University’s School of Business.

What is a day in the life of someone in your position?

With an infectious laugh (and an undeniable resemblance to Robin Williams), Pokorney said, “I try to know where all the money is, and I try to know where we can find more money! Then, there’s also the communications with the commission… and the vendors. That’s a big portion of it,” he added.

What are some of your hobbies?

Pokorney said he’s been acting pretty much his whole life. It was seeing a 1983 Warren Mott High School production of Grease (his sister, Nancy, played Guitar in the pit) that really struck him. He began acting in 1987 and has been doing several shows a year since (often several at once… sometimes three at a time!). “If I am not in a show, I’m prepping for the next one.” Pokorney also directs, choreographs, and builds sets. “The set building is usually just me and a couple of people, or just me sometimes. We’ve had 14-foot wooden rabbits in our backyard before!” He enjoys performing in comedies the most, “because then you can just screw around!”

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

“I worked in a bookstore at the Detroit College of Business (in Madison Heights). That was just horrible, because the person who ran the store was just… she should not have been a boss. She would talk about things there was no need to talk about, like boyfriends… and she would shoot me with rubber bands,” Pokorney said, while holding up his hands in front of him only a foot apart, “and we were like this close!”

Who has been a role model in your life?

“My dad died when I was in 8th grade. He was very casual about things and very understanding of other people’s viewpoints.” Pokorney wishes his father were still here to construct sets with him. “He was very good at building things.”

Do you have any kids? Pets?

Pokorney has a 25-year-old son, Joe (aka “JoPo,” aka “Sour Kreme”), a new granddaughter, Evelyn, a Pitbull mix, Sully, “and fat cat, Tiger.” His wife, Michelle, and other family members have all helped with shows. “My sister — she’s been the backend of a cow once. I just make her do stupid stuff because I can and it’s fun.”

What are three things on your bucket list right now?

“I’ve been pretty lucky. I’ve been able to do what I’ve wanted to do,” said Pokorney. But after adding that he could be a bit crazy with this question, he said, “I would like to see the Lions go to the Super Bowl!” He then joked that wouldn’t happen any time soon. Pokorney said he would also love to retire and manage a theatre with friends. Lastly, he said “just doing more shows” would also make him truly happy.

Staying up late or waking up early?

“I am NOT a morning person. Nooo. That’s horrible!”

Do you have any nicknames?

“My son and all his friends call me ‘Jere-Bear.’”

Who is your celebrity crush?

“One?” After a moment of thought… and a few funny facial expressions… “I’ll say Natalie Portman.

You can catch Pokorney in the role of “Bill” in Mama Mia! June 17, 18, 24, and 25 at the Fraser Performing Arts Center at Fraser High School (34270 Garfield Rd, Fraser, MI 48026).



You’ve decluttered your closet, washed the windows and deep-cleaned the carpets. Now, it’s time to tidy up one more often-neglected area: your mind.

Between an ongoing pandemic, extreme weather disasters and political strife, the last two years have been tough on our psyche. Even if you think you’re handling everything okay, chances are, your mind is crying out for a little R&R. And what better time to refresh your mental health than spring?

To help you get started, we’ve rounded up a few mental health tips to usher in the changing of the seasons. We hope these suggestions will help set you up for a healthier and happier spring!

Make sleep a priority

Good sleep is incredibly important to our mental well-being. But according to the CDC, one in three American adults isn’t getting enough shut-eye.

While sleep can be elusive for many reasons, a poor sleeping environment is often to blame. Little things such as artificial light, noises and an uncomfortable bed can mess with our sleep and leave us feeling tired and groggy in the morning.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to create a more restful sleep environment. These include:

Investing in a comfortable mattress, bedding and pillows.

Blocking out noise with a comfortable set of earplugs or a white noise machine.

Installing black curtains or using a soothing eye mask to block out evening light.

Keeping the temperature cool.

It may sound overly simplistic, but these small changes can make a huge difference to your sleep quality and quantity.

Swap carb-heavy meals with healthy spring foods

Winter comfort foods are delicious, but they can be tough on our mental health. In fact, researchers often refer to the gut as the “second brain” because it contains its own network of neurons that influence how we feel. Research shows that eating carbohydrate-rich foods can trigger an inflammatory response, which has been associated with increased symptoms of anxiety, depression and other psychiatric disorders.

Instead of reaching for your usual winter staples, it’s time to start fueling your body with healthy spring dishes. Take advantage of seasonal produce, such as asparagus, strawberries, avocados and apricots. Using fresh ingredients will not only make your meals healthier, but also cheaper and more satisfying!

Do some actual spring cleaning

Yes, you read that correctly — one of the best ways to spring clean your mind is to actually clean your home. That’s because the act of tidying up our living spaces can do wonders for our mental health. Not only does cleaning provide an outlet for excess energy (the average person burns 170 to 300 calories per hour cleaning), but it also results in a clean and comfortable space that makes us feel more relaxed.

Taking the first step is always the hardest part of spring cleaning, so start small by tackling one room or one area at a time. Once you get the ball rolling on your spring cleaning, you’ll build momentum and have a tidy home in no time.

De-stress from the day with weighted products

If you tend to feel gloomy and on edge in the spring, you’re not alone. Busy schedules, inconsistent weather, impending tax-filing deadlines and final exams can make springtime super stressful and overwhelming.

The good news? Combating the “spring blues” may be as simple as snuggling up to a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets use something called deep touch pressure, a science-backed therapy technique that uses firm but gentle pressure to counteract stress and put you in a calmer, happier state.

For best results, consider sleeping with a weighted blanket at night or cozying up to one in the evening while you read or watch TV. Alternatively, you could wear a cozy weighted robe immediately after taking a warm bath.

Find ways to give back

You probably knew that volunteering is good for your local community, but did you know that it can also benefit your mental health? Indeed, some evidence suggests that giving your time and skills to help those in need can give you a “Helper’s high,” which is a term used to describe the boost in happiness people get after volunteering.

Why is giving back so good for our mental health? It’s simple. Taking the time to help others makes us feel good. Signing up for volunteer opportunities can also boost our social connections, as well as our sense of purpose and belonging.

Enjoy springtime activities with the people you love

After a long and isolating winter, it’s easy to fall into a social rut where you forget to make plans to spend time with friends and family. But humans desperately crave connection and going too long without some form of contact can wreak havoc on our mental well-being.

Instead of waiting for your loved ones to reach out to you, why not take the reins and get something in the books? Consider taking advantage of warmer weather by going for a stroll in the park or riding your bikes together. You could even rent an Airbnb with a couple of friends and explore a new area together. If the weather is iffy, you could check out a brewery or take a fun class with your friends.

Refresh Your Mind This Spring

When springtime rolls around, we tend to zero-in on the clutter in our homes — but what about all the clutter taking up space in our brains? With these tips, we hope you can sweep the cobwebs from your mind and kickstart better mental health for spring!

Source – Wellness Proposals

10 Women Whose Work You Know But Not Their Names

No surprise that women were the brains behind the invention of many useful household items ranging from the dishwasher (Josephine Garis Cochran, 1893) to the foot-pedal trash can (Lillian Moller Gilbreth, best known as the mother in Cheaper by the Dozen) and an early version of the disposable diaper (Marion Donovan, 1950s).But from the very birth of the United States, women have made countless, little-known contributions, both major and mundane, that continue to aid us, entertain us, enrich our national heritage, improve our wellbeing, and save lives. Here are ten women whose contributions you know even if their names remain unknown.

The Declaration of Independence

No, Thomas Jefferson had no woman at his elbow as he penned those immortal words. By mid-July of 1776, the text of the Declaration of Independence appeared in newspapers throughout the colonies. However, it was not until the following January, after George Washington had crossed the Delaware on Christmas Day and beaten the British at Trenton, did the Continental Congress dare to distribute the first edition that identified the rebels who had signed it. So they set about printing official copies for distribution. And below the names of John Hancock, John Adams, Josiah Bartlett, and other traitors to the Crown, King George III could read the bold statement: “Baltimore, in Maryland: Printed by Mary Katharine Goddard.”Following her experience publishing the Providence Gazette in Rhode Island and the Pennsylvania Chronicle in Philadelphia, Goddard (1738-1816) took over the Maryland Journal in 1774. During the run-up to the American Revolution, she reported on its early battles, reprinted Thomas Paine’s pamphlet Common Sense, and encouraged women to boycott British goods. She became postmaster of Baltimore in October 1775 and held that job until 1789, which may have made her the new nation’s first female employee.

Paper Bags

An advance does not have to change history to affect how people go about their daily lives. If you have ever been offered “paper or plastic?” and chosen the former, you have Margaret E. Knight (1838-1914) to thank. After losing her father at age twelve, she went to work in a Manchester, New Hampshire, textile mill. Within a year, she had devised a system to keep loom shuttles from flying off and injuring weavers. After holding various other jobs, she moved on to the Columbia Paper Bag company, where flat-bottom paper bags were a specialty item made by hand. To automate this process, she built a machine that could feed, cut, and fold the paper and then form the squared bottom of the bag.Having made no money from her earlier improvement to the loom, this time Knight took the rare step—for a woman—of applying for a patent. And when a man who had seen her machine during development tried to claim the invention as his own, she fought back. In response to his argument that no woman could have possibly designed such a thing, she produced detailed blueprints, while he offered nothing in his defense. She won the case and received her patent in 1871. Knight went on to found the Eastern Paper Bag Company in Hartford, Connecticut, and receive patents for at least twenty-six more inventions.

America the Beautiful

Katharine Lee Bates (1858-1929) was an English instructor at Wellesley, her alma mater near Boston, when she took a cross-country train to Colorado Springs for a three-week teaching assignment in the summer of 1893. Along the way, she visited the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, whose famous White City fairgrounds she would later refer to as “alabaster cities.” While out West, she and other professors took a wagon to the top of Pike’s Peak. As she would later write, “It was then and there, as I was looking out over the seas-like expanse of fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies, that the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind.”Her completed poem titled “Pike’s Peak” appeared in the weekly newspaper The Congregationalist on July 4, 1895. A small check for its publication was the only payment Bates ever received, even though her words were set to music repeatedly. While few people may live in Bates Dorm on the Wellesley campus or visit the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum where her bronze statue sits facing Pike’s Peak, we all know the first verse of her song.

Medical Syringe

In recent years, we have become all too familiar with shots in arms. In its simplest form, a syringe is a pump consisting of a plunger that fits tightly into a cylindrical tube. The plunger can be pulled and pushed along inside the tube, allowing the syringe to pull in or push out a liquid or gas through the opening at the end of the tube. That open end may also be fitted with a hypodermic needle, a nozzle, or tubing to help direct the flow into and out of the tube.While not what we use today, syringes themselves date back to the Greeks and Romans. They weren’t used to inject medication but rather to anoint the skin with ointments and creams. They are mentioned in a journal called De Medicina for use to treat medical complications. Then, in the 9th century AD, an Egyptian surgeon created a syringe using a hollow glass tube and suction. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that they took on their more familiar form using the hypodermic needle.Early designs for a syringe with a hollow needle fine enough to pierce skin have been around since 1844, but those contraptions, operated by either a plunger or a screw, were large and required the use of two hands. A New York nurse, Letitia Mumford Geer (1852-1935), helped revolutionize healthcare with her 1899 patent of a compact syringe that could be operated with one hand, making it easier for a medical professional or even a patient to use. While little is known of her life, other than she died in Kings County, New York, the basic design of her brainchild lives on.


In 1904, while working as a secretary, Elizabeth “Lizzie” J. Magie (1866-1948) secured a patent for what she called The Landlord’s Game. According to its detailed rules, players rolled dice to land on spaces with different costs for rent and purchase, as well as Water Franchise, Light Franchise, four railroads, and Public Parking. Each time they passed the square labeled “Labor Upon Mother Earth Produces Wages,” they collected $100. Sound familiar?Her 1924 patent for a revised edition, which featured properties of increasing values with names such as Lonely Lane, Rickety Row, Progress Park, and Easy Street, included a statement that the game was intended not simply for amusement but also to show players the unfair financial advantages of greedy landlords.Magie’s game had circulated in various forms for a decade by the time Charles Darrow played on a board featuring the names of Atlantic City properties. In 1935, Darrow sold his version to the Parker Brothers company, falsely claiming, “being unemployed at the time, and badly needing anything to occupy my time, I made by hand a very crude game for the sole purpose of amusing myself.”More than two million copies flew off the shelves in the first two years, and Darrow made a fortune in royalties. Also, in 1935, Lizzie Magie Phillips, by then married to a successful businessman, sold her patent to Parker Brothers for a flat $500 in the hope of reaching a wider audience with her warning about economic inequality. Instead, Monopoly went on to teach generations of children that greed is good. However, in a twist of fate, Magie Phillips’ role and her viewpoint were revived in the 1970s during a trademark legal case over another game: Anti-Monopoly.


While this superplastic may be best known for its most dramatic use, the bullet-proof vest, Stephanie L. Kwolek (1923-2014) discovered Kevlar in the course of research seeking a new lightweight material to use in tires to make cars more fuel efficient. She was born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, where she picked up a love of fabrics and sewing from her mother and a love of science from her father. In 1946, she graduated from Margaret Morrison Carnegie College with a degree in chemistry. To earn money for medical school, she took a job as a chemist in a DuPont research lab, where she went on to spend her entire career.In the course of Kwolek’s experiments in 1965, she created a cloudy solution that, when spun, made a heat-resistant fiber that was lightweight yet five times stronger than steel. Today, Kevlar is used in products ranging from helmets to brake pads in addition to body armor. Though she was recognized with multiple awards and inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, the would-be doctor once said of her discovery, “I don’t think there’s anything like saving someone’s life to bring you satisfaction and happiness.”

3D Movies

If you have ever jumped in your theater seat because an object looked to be coming at your head, credit Valerie Thomas (1943– ). Though not encouraged to study science as a child, she earned a degree from Morgan State University as one of only two women in her class to major in physics. After graduation, she took a job at NASA as a data analyst/mathematician, remaining there until her retirement in 1995.In addition to her work on the Landsat program, which captures images of Earth from space, she invented an “illusion transmitter.” This transmitter uses two curved mirrors and a camera to reflect an image to the eye at two different angles that combine in the brain to create the illusion of three dimensions. While not the first 3D technique, Thomas received a patent in 1980 for an invention unique in its simplicity.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

When “The Wall,” as it is frequently called, was dedicated in 1982 in Washington, DC, its design was controversial, like the war whose veterans it honored. A panel of eight artists and designers considered more than 1,400 anonymous submissions. They ultimately chose the work of Maya Lin (1959– ), who turned out to be a 21-year-old undergraduate architecture student at Yale who had created her design as a class project.Lin was born in Ohio to parents who had fled mainland China. Her simple yet powerful design for a V-shaped wall now inscribed with more than 58,000 names only earned her a B on her assignment. However, she did beat out her professor in the competition.

Laser Photoablative Cataract Surgery

This medical mouthful is not exactly a household term, even under its more common name, the Laserphaco Probe. But quite likely, someone you know is able to read these words because of it. Patricia Era Bath (1942-2019), a graduate of Howard Medical School, had already racked up an impressive list of accomplishments and “firsts” when she became the first female African American doctor to receive a medical patent in 1988.Her device, using laser technology to break up and remove cataracts that cloud vision with age, is faster, easier, and less invasive than earlier techniques. In 2014, her invention was recognized by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as “one of the most important developments in the field of ophthalmology” for having “helped restore or improve vision to millions of patients worldwide.”

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

Marian R. Croak (1955-) earned a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 1982 and went straight to a job at AT&T’s Bell Laboratory. During the 1990s, her groundbreaking work changed the way we communicate, as she received more than one hundred patents related to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies.This is the electronic magic that supports video chat and has allowed millions to perform tasks as diverse as casting a vote for American Idol or donating to a charity via text. She is a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame class of 2022, joining the late Dr. Bath as only the second Black woman to be so honored.

“A Dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work”
-Colin Powell

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