STEM Icons: Five Trailblazing Black Women In Science And Technology

By Jay S December 10, 2023

Black women have consistently proven to be trailblazers in various fields, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Sadly, their hard work and success are often ignored or undervalued despite being impactful. Here are some noteworthy Black women who have made exceptional strides in STEM.

Image courtesy of lev radin/Shutterstock

Dr. Mae Jemison

We start off with a woman who stands as a pioneering figure, breaking barriers as an astronaut, engineer, and physician. In 1992, Jemison achieved the remarkable feat of becoming the first black woman to venture out into space! Beyond her historic space mission, she also has a technology consulting firm, adding to her illustrious career.

Dr. Aprille Ericsson

The next icon on our list is renowned for being the first Black woman to achieve a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University. Her pioneering accomplishments further include being the first Black woman to obtain a Ph.D. in engineering at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Throughout her career, Ericsson has significantly contributed to the design and development of spacecraft and instruments for NASA missions, all while advocating for diversity in STEM.

Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green

Hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green has devoted her professional life to transforming cancer treatment. Overcoming personal hurdles, Green attained her undergraduate degree in physics and optics from Alabama A&M University, followed by a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her pioneering research revolves around the utilization of laser-activated nanoparticles for precise cancer treatment, holding the promise of mitigating the adverse effects linked to conventional therapeutic approaches.

Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin, an esteemed sociologist, author, and professor based at Princeton University, distinguishes herself through her influential contributions at the intersection of race, science, and technology. Her studies underscore how advancements can inadvertently reinforce social disparities, prompting a call for the creation of more just and impartial technologies and systems. Benjamin’s intellectually stimulating publications, such as “Race After Technology” and “People’s Science,” actively contribute to a critical discourse aimed at promoting inclusivity within the realm of STEM.

Dr. Keli Christopher

Dr. Keli Christopher has carved her place in history as the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Illinois. Founding STEM Greenhouse, her organization is dedicated to providing children of color with role models who inspire them to explore STEM careers, ensuring a more inclusive future.

Image courtesy of thestemgreenhouse/Instagram

These exceptional Black women in STEM act as sources of inspiration and role models, clearing the path for upcoming generations and demonstrating that excellence has limitless possibilities.