Inspiration from engineer Cynthia White, founder of Tech Savvy Tamara Brown, former president of Verizon DC Marie C Johns, and astronaut Mae Jemison.
Happy Black History Month from AAUW!
Like many children, Mae Jemison grew up watching Star Trek on TV—and fell in love with a vision of the future when a black woman like Star Trek’s Lieutenant Uhura could be a scientist and travel aboard a starship.
In 1992, Jemison made that vision a reality: she became the first woman of color to go to space. Through her work with a number of non-profits and educational programs, she advocates for girls and minority students to dream big and follow their dreams into a STEM field and into the future. [source: Wikipedia]
Cynthia White loved working as an engineer. But when she noticed that young people – particularly black students from urban areas – weren’t pursuing STEM careers, she knew she had to do something. So she quit her job and teamed up with her daughter to find a solution.
Math wasn’t capturing students’ interest—it needed to be relevant and meaningful to their lives. So White and her daughter, a musician, created the Arythmetic Jukebox. The Jukebox is a collection of songs that use modern music to teach math concepts. As an educator and advocate, White changed math from a stressful and rigorous subject to something creative and fun.
As a biochemical engineer, Tamara Brown couldn’t help but notice that she was often the only woman in the room. She attributed the lack of women to a lack of role models, as well as negative stereotypes about engineering and other scientific professions. These barriers, she believed, kept girls from pursuing fields in math and science.
Brown’s solution: Tech Savvy, a day-long conference where girls can meet women professionals and see how science, technology, engineering, and math careers aren’t just numbers and equations—but a way to change the world. [source]
For Black History Month, we celebrate one of our past board members – Dr. Dorothy Ferebee.
Although she graduated in the top five of her class, she met with discrimination when she applied for positions at “white” hospitals. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities available to black female physicians in Massachusetts, Ferebee moved to Washington, D.C. She became an obstetrician serving the African American community at Freedman’s Hospital, which is now Howard University Hospital.
Marian Anderson, contralto. The first black person to sing at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1955. Served as a delegate to the UN Human Rights Committee and sang at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.
1954 - Ruby Bridges, the first black student to attend William Frantz school in New Orleans. One woman in the community continually threatened to poison her - so President Eisenhower assigned US Marshals to escort her.
Marie Johns’ family moved out of the city of Indianapolis so that Johns would have a better education. Out in the suburbs, Johns got on the path to college and a career in telecommunications. But she never forgot her roots and the need for education opportunities. When she became president of Verizon, Washington, Johns made it a priority to help young urban students “get in the game” with programs aimed at helping them succeed in STEM.
“There is no royal flower-strewn path to success.” - Madame C.J. Walker, said to be the first female self-made millionaire. She started as a sales agent in 1905, and by 1910 owned her own cosmetics company.
Harriet Tubman: abolitionist, humanist, suffragist, awesome.