• Jasmine King

Women belong in the lab

Most women are phenomenal cooks with delicious meals made in under 30 minutes. We often pass down family recipes and enjoy family gatherings where we can share our favorite recipes.

But as for me and many other exceptional women we have another kitchen that we call our LAB. Science is often considered a male dominated field with less than 30% of scientific researchers being women. Studies have shown that women are often discouraged from entering science, technology, and engineering (STEM) at a young age, with a more disproportionate effect in minority women.

Despite these challenges women of color have made significant contributions in STEM. Women of color have overcome racial and gender biases and have contributed to significant discoveries in the history of STEM. Below are several African American women who have overcome the odds and pushed beyond the boundaries set before them in STEM:

  • Dorothy Lavinia Brown was the first African American female surgeon. She practiced in the Southeastern U.S. during the 1900s.

  • Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman to become a physician. She graduated from the New England Female Medical College as a Doctor of Medicine in 1864.

  • Dr. Marie M. Daly was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in chemistry in the U.S. She earned her doctorate from Columbia University in 1947 and devoted her life to research and education, teaching and working as a biochemist.

  • Mary Jackson was NASA’s first African American female engineer. She became an aeronautical engineer in 1958. She devoted her career as an engineer to creating reports and helping other women get STEM positions at NASA.

  • Dr. Shirley Jackson was the second African American woman to graduate with a PhD in physics in the U.S., and the first African American woman to graduate with a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She received the National Medal of Science in 2015 during the presidency of Barack Obama.

  • Katherine Johnson completed the NASA calculations necessary for several space missions including the 1969 moon landing. She began working as a human computer for Langley Research Center in 1952 and made her way to the flight research division, due to her astounding intelligence and calculations. In 2015, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

  • Dr. Gladys West was responsible for the mathematics that brought about the invention of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Her important work at the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory helped with outer space discoveries related to planets in the solar system as well as Earth. She programmed the mathematics and calculations for the complex computer that eventually became known as a GPS.

I'm sure that most of these women were phenomenal cooks and enjoyed spending time in the kitchen. However, it is evident that some women aspire to be scientist and are devoted to making significant research contributions in STEM. We Women Belong In The LAB!!

#blackinSTEM #blackwomenphds #blackscientistsmatter

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