Eileen Pollack

b. 1956

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Eileen Pollack until we are able to commission a full entry.

Novelist Eileen Pollack at a book signing event for her novel Breaking and Entering, 2012. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Discouraged from a promising career in science, Eileen Pollack published her 2015 memoir The Only Woman in the Room to unravel the many instances of sexism, large and small, that push women like her out of STEM fields. In 1976, Pollack was one of the first two women to graduate from Yale with a BS in physics. She then changed career paths and earned an MFA from the University of Iowa. Her short stories yielded accolades, including two Pushcart Prizes, an NEA fellowship, and a spot in the 2007 Best American Short Stories, and her 2012 novel Breaking and Entering won the Grub Street National Book Prize. As of 2024 she has published two short-story collections, three novels, a children’s book, and several books of creative nonfiction. She is Professor Emeritus and former director of the MFA program at the University of Michigan. In 2013 she published an excerpt of The Only Woman in the Room in The New York Times Magazine, “Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?” which laid out the lack of resources, encouragement, and opportunities she faced in science from grade school through her Yale degree and interviewed other women who had faced similar hurdles. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Eileen Pollack." (Viewed on May 22, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/pollack-eileen>.