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Here are 10 amazing East Tennessee women you should know

These women have played vital roles in shaping the Volunteer State through sports, academia, entertainment, innovation, service and more.

TENNESSEE, USA — March is Women's History Month! It's a yearly time to celebrate and honor women's contributions throughout history.

To celebrate, we wanted to recognize 10 East Tennessee women and the roles they have played in shaping the Volunteer State through sports, academia, entertainment, innovation, service and more. 

Some will be easily recognizable. Others may be new to you. Either way here's to the ladies! 

1. Pat Summitt is the legendary head basketball coach for the Lady Vols from 1974 to 2012. She won eight NCAA championships, left her coaching career with a 1,098-208 record and was the first-ever college basketball coach to reach 1,000 wins.

2021: 'She was more than a basketball coach' | Remembering Pat Summitt 5 years later

Credit: Getty Images
Legendary Lady Vol coach Pat Summitt.

2. Clarice Phelps is a scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the first Black woman to be associated with the discovery of a new periodic table element, tennessine. 

2019: ORNL scientist recognized globally for research and commitment to diversity

3. Hera Jay Brown is a University of Tennessee graduate and the first transgender woman to be named a Rhodes Scholar.

2019: UT graduate is the first transgender woman to be named a Rhodes Scholar

Credit: Hera Jay Brown

4. Brenda Peel was the first Black student to earn an undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee in 1964.

2020: In Her Own Words: Brenda Peel's road on Rocky Top as UT's first Black undergrad alum

Credit: University of Tennessee

5. Dr. Isabel Tipton was a physics professor who researched radiation and led the University of Tennessee to academic stardom on national TV on the College Bowl.

2020: Women's history: Isabel Tipton blazed scientific trail at University of Tennessee

Credit: WBIR
Physics professor Isabel Tipton holds a silver cup given to her by University of Tennessee students she coached for the nationally televised College Bowl in 1962.

6. Brianna Mason was the first Black woman to win the Miss Tennessee crown in 2019. 

2019: "I'm so lucky to be the girl who made history!" | Miss Tennessee 2019 opens up about her historic win

Credit: Brianna Mason

7. Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner were co-founders of the Love Kitchen, which has served free meals to Knoxvillians in need since 1986.

2018: Love Kitchen volunteers thankful for legacy of Helen and Ellen

8. Febb Burn and all the East Tennessee women who fought for the right to vote.


9. The Calutron Girls worked in Oak Ridge during World War II enriching uranium to help create the atomic bomb.

Of course, no list of East Tennessee women would be complete without... 

10. Dolly Parton. No further explanation needed.

RELATED: 10 amazing Dolly Parton moments from 2021

For more stories about the incredible women making history in East Tennessee, check out our YouTube playlist:

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