Excelling in the sciences since she was in high school, Lois McCoy Floyd was a high school merit scholar and was recognized as the Most Outstanding Science Student in 1962. Furthermore, she won multiple awards from the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair during her high school years, placing second her first year and fourth the subsequent three. During her final year, she was further recognized for a project on DNA. Following her excellence in high school, she received a full scholarship to attend Colorado State University, where graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1967.
After her undergraduate studies, Ms. Floyd received a National Science Foundation scholarship grant and spent a year in graduate school, pursuing further studies. Her graduate studies were short, but incredibly impactful, and she greatly enjoyed the work she completed with her professors. She was notably involved in a research project on salmonella mutations and completed a graduate research assistantship. For her excellence in her educational efforts, she was inducted into the National Honor Society. In 1974, Ms. Floyd joined the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she would remain until her retirement in 2001.
Starting in an entry level position at Oak Ridge, Ms. Floyd quickly rose to become an accomplished technical information specialist. She never intended, or expected, to be supervising anyone, but her job required her to oversee a variety of groups at the lab and relay information from the government facility to her teams. One of her first jobs was to contact a number of facilities and set up questionnaires to keep track of information, so that it could be traced back to the company that provided it. The results of those questionnaires were extracted and used to create databases, which she also worked on to generate interfaces that made the databases more accessible and user friendly.
Ms. Floyd was further responsible for scheduling training sessions for the employees of Oak Ridge, as well as for people from other facilities and businesses that used their information. Among her notable projects were the opportunities she had to work with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency on the residential conservation service mandated by then President Jimmy Carter. Ms. Floyd’s achievements during this time were recognized with letters of commendation from both the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Continually motivated by the opportunities she has had to make a difference, Ms. Floyd always stood out in her field for her quiet nature along with her willingness to help others improve in their work and feel good about their growth. In addition, she appreciated that her job was never repetitive and cites her favorite moments as the work she did with her supervisor, who had a great personality and a broad range of expert knowledge. While she had her struggles as a woman in science, she notes that she came out stronger for persevering, standing up for herself, and realizing that she had an excellent memory, which was highly beneficial to her work.
Alongside her work in science, Ms. Floyd has harbored a longstanding love of the arts. Interested in photography since she was 14, she began painting at the age of 16 as well. Her father was incredibly supportive of her artistic endeavors and bought her all the tools she needed, until there wasn’t anything more he could get her. While she did stop painting during her time with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, she returned to her hobby upon her retirement and has now branched out into oils and watercolors. Ms. Floyd’s paintings have been exhibited and sold at various gallery events, and she has additionally cultivated skill in knitting, crocheting, tatting and cooking.