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Black women are rising up the ranks in academia and breaking barriers in the process. According to Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Dr. Namandjé Bumpus made history by becoming the first Black woman to chair a department at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Bumpus was appointed to serve as chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in May. It marks the first time in the department’s 130-year history that a Black woman has served at the helm. Aside from making history within the Baltimore-based school, she is currently the only African American woman to chair a pharmacology department in the entire country.

Dr. Bumpus earned a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She was also a part of the Scripps Research Institute’s fellowship program. The core of her research is centered on drug metabolism. Her work has been featured in several publications and she is involved with prominent groups in the medical industry including the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics and ASPET.

She hopes her journey will empower other people of color to pursue careers in STEM. “Being an African American woman in science, I had not only the glass ceiling, but the solitude of often being first,” she said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “One of the reasons I push and work so hard for these leadership roles is I feel like I need to be there as an advocate, and I need to be there as an example.”

There has been a number of historic appointments within higher education over the past few months. In July, Dr. Michael Drake was named president of the University of California System, making him the first Black person to serve at the helm in its 150-year history.


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