Recognized as a pioneer for women in the corporate sector, Mona Dickson Jensen, PhD, is proud to have set the bar. She had been interested in mathematics and sciences since childhood and despite the fact that women didn’t frequent those fields at the time, she decided to pursue them anyway. Dr. Jensen proceeded to earn a Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1966, a PhD from Cornell University in 1973 and a Master of Business Administration in 1983. Notably, she was one of only 22 women in her undergraduate class.
Dr. Jensen then used her knowledge and training to obtain positions such as senior scientist, project manager, manager of reagent systems applications, senior research and development manager, and clinical chemical strategic business applications manager at the Instrumentation Laboratory. Dr. Jensen left the company in 1996 to become a research and development manager at a startup in Boston, where she remained for two years. Her last employer before her retirement was IDEXX Laboratories. She served them as a research scientist, research and development manager, and manager of Clinical Chemistry Research and Development. Dr. Jensen’s area of expertise is the general topic of clinical chemistry, which covers all of the medical assays that are done on body fluids such as blood, semen, urine and spinal fluid. It is both a human and veterinary field.
The highlight of Dr. Jensen’s career was achieving such a high level in her corporate career and using her position to advance the field. She holds two patents, and she is recognized as a leader on research relating to environmental control and cell culture. She is also responsible for the development of numerous clinical assay reagents in general chemistry, immunochemistry and coagulation, and of instrument/reagent analytical systems in human and veterinary medicine. To help her expand her reach, she contributed to publications like “Cell Culture and Its Application” and “Practical Tissue Culture Applications.”
Since stepping down from her profession, Dr. Jensen has focused on more creative and civic endeavors. She is currently the co-founder and president of Jensen Craft Enterprises Incorporated, which she runs out of New Hampshire. Additionally, her interest in genealogy has led her to join organizations including the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Pilgrim Edward Doty Society. Dr. Jensen also was a church organist/pianist for 35 years, and now substitutes as needed.
The obstacles or challenges that Dr. Jensen faced in pursuit of her goals was the competition she faced from men in her field. Her bosses told her that she could not get a promotion to be a manager because she didn’t have a Master of Business Administration, so she obtained one. She has had many great job managers over the years, who were all positive and encouraging people. Her biggest mentor has been her mother Louise Archer Dickson, who she describes as an extraordinary woman, and her grandmother Mona Lee Blankenship Archer, who was born in a log cabin in Appalachia and worked her way through college at a time when it was uncommon for women to do so. In recognition of Dr. Jensen’s achievements, she was a grantee of the World Health Organization from 1980 to 1981 and a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also featured in numerous editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering and Who’s Who of American Women.
Dr. Jensen would like to be remembered by her peers as someone who came up in corporate America at a time when women were just being given a chance to do that. She was never part of a women’s movement, despite attending a few meetings, but she found that their real goal didn’t have much to do with women having a place in corporate America and politics. They had other agendas and she decided to just do it.