Black women are trailblazers who can excel wherever they find themselves. Very often, Black women don’t get enough credit for their contributions to society. Still, their contributions are undeniable. There are many inspiring Black women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, or STEM, fields. These women are making significant contributions to their respective fields. Here are a few notable examples.
Dr. Mae Jemison is a trailblazing astronaut, engineer, and physician who became the first African American woman to travel to space. On September 12, 1992, Jemison joined NASA’s astronaut program in 1987 and made her historic journey aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. During her eight-day mission, she conducted experiments related to life sciences and human adaptation to space. In addition to her illustrious career, Jemison founded the Jemison Group, a technology consulting firm.
Dr. Aprille Ericsson became renowned for being the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University. She was also the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in engineering at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Throughout her iconic career, Ericsson has contributed significantly to the design and development of various spacecraft and instruments for NASA missions. She is also a strong advocate for diversity in STEM.
Dr. Keli Christopher is the first Black individual to obtain a Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Illinois. She is also the third Black woman, globally, to earn a Ph.D. in this field. Christoper founded STEM Greenhouse. The organization’s mission is to present children of color with role models who encourage them to explore STEM careers.
Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green dedicated her career to revolutionizing cancer treatment. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she overcame significant personal challenges to pursue her passion for science. Green earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and optics from Alabama A&M University. She went on to receive her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her groundbreaking research focuses on using laser-activated nanoparticles for targeted cancer treatment. This innovative approach has the potential to minimize the harmful side effects commonly associated with traditional cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Ruha Benjamin is an influential Black woman in STEM. The sociologist, author, and professor at Princeton University, where she specializes in the intersection of race, science, and technology. Her research explores the ways in which innovations can reproduce and exacerbate existing social inequalities. Benjamin’s work serves as a call to action for the development of more equitable technologies and systems. She has authored several thought-provoking books, including “Race After Technology” and “People’s Science.”