Black women are making historic moves in the realm of STEM. According to Because of Them We Can, Jasmine Bowers recently became the first Black person to graduate with a doctorate degree in computer science from the University of Florida.
Bowers—who earned her master’s degree from North Carolina A&T and double majored in Math and Computer Science at Fort Valley State University during her undergraduate years—developed a passion for technology at a young age. From creating Excel files for her wish lists to utilizing different tech tools, technology was something that was embedded in her childhood. She pulled her inspiration from her mother who is a self-taught engineer.
Bowers says earning her Ph.D. is symbolic of all the dedication and hard work that she’s put into her education and hopes her accomplishment will motivate others to defy the odds and follow their dreams. “The Ph.D. was and is the pinnacle of the seed planted years ago, deposits from teachers, internship experiences, amazing mentors, a supportive Ph.D. advisor, and the push from my mother who is and will always be behind me reminding me, ‘you can do this,'” she said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “I will be moving to a new state and starting my career as an engineer where I get to put into practice all of my studies. I will continue to give back and encourage young girls to explore STEM.”
Bowers’ milestone comes nearly a year after Amber Johnson became the first Black woman to earn a doctorate in computer science from Purdue University. “I don’t look the stereotypical computer scientist,” Johnson told The Exponent. “You don’t find many black women in this academic space. This is what computer science can look like.”