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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

February 25, 2005

Watt's career devoted to nutrition

March is Women's History Month, and many women added to Iowa State's history and reputation. Among them is Bernice (Kunerth) Watt, who devoted her career to nutritional research.

Over a long career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she compiled data on nutrients in foods. During her tenure, that information grew from data on 13 nutrients in 275 foods to 50 nutrients in 3,000 foods.

She was born in 1910 in Ames. Her father was on the physics faculty in what was then known as Iowa State College.

She graduated from Iowa State in 1932 with a combined major in foods, nutrition and chemistry. She received an M.S. from Kansas State University (1933) and a Ph.D. in nutrition chemistry from Columbia University (1940).

Among the recognitions Watt received were the Distinguished Achievement Citation (1969) from Iowa State, Borden Award for fundamental nutrition and experimental foods (1972), Distinguished Service Award (1974) from the USDA, and the Elvehjem Award for Public Service in Nutrition in 1980.

She died in 1984.

Bernice (Kunerth) Watt

ISU alumna Bernice (Kunerth) Watt (above) devoted her career to nutritional research. A mother of three and community volunteer, Watt also led the USDA Nutrient Data Research Center. When she retired in 1974, she had accumulated several awards, including the Borden Award (below). Watt photo provided by the ISU Library Special Collections.

Borden Award