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Black Innovators Who Have Made an Impact in STEMM

By February 24, 2022No Comments

In honor of Black History Month, the National Research Mentoring Network wanted to highlight black innovators who have made their mark in the STEMM fields. It is important to see the impact these black scientists have made and paved the way for many STEMM professionals today. Check out the innovators below to see how black excellence is beautiful and powerful!

George Washing Carver – One of the most known African American inventors, was born into slavery but later became the first Black student at Iowa State Agricultural College. He is best known for coming up with about 300 uses for the peanut. Some of these included flour, paste, paper, soap, shaving cream, and even medicines.

Dr. Marie M Daly – The first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States. She used her degree to become a biochemist. Much of her work contributed to what we know today about high cholesterol and its relation to heart disease. She also became a professor and taught biochemistry courses at Albert Einstein College.

Katherine Johnson – Worked for NASA as a “human computer” where she would solve difficult math problems. She asked lots of questions and became more involved in other programs. Johnson then joined another task force in NASA where she “calculated the path for the Freedom 7, the spacecraft that put the first U.S astronaut in space.” She also was a huge part of the mission that successfully planned the first moon landing.

Vivien Thomas – Started his career by working in a laboratory at Vanderbilt University where he learned many complex surgical techniques. While he worked at this lab, he was paid as a janitor even though he was doing amazing doctoral research. Thomas persevered and formulated a surgery that would successfully help save the lives of infants who were born with a heart defect that sends blood past their lungs. He went on to become the director of Surgical Research Laboratories at John Hopkins.

Dr. Warren Washington – Received his Ph.D. in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University and is currently a senior scientist at NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research). He is known for being an expert in climate research and has developed multiple computer climate models that show the impact of human activities on our future climate. He won the National Medal of Science in 2009.

Dr. Nola Hylton – Received a BS in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Physics. She played an essential part in the development of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) research in the “detection, diagnosis, and staging of breast cancer.” She has become an international leader in the field of breast MRI. Hylton is currently a professor in Residence in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging as well as the Director of the Breast Imaging Research Group at the University of California in San Francisco.

It is amazing to see the discoveries that have came from many black men and women. NRMN is proud to highlight these historic efforts and we will continue to highlight black STEMM professionals beyond Black History Month.


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