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Whether it’s rising up the ranks at NASA or breaking racial barriers in higher education, Black women are continuing to reach new milestones and change the narrative around diversity in the realm of STEM. The latest person to do so is University of Texas at Arlington graduate Lindsay Davis who recently became the first Black student in the university’s 126-year history to earn a doctorate in chemistry.

Davis’ path in STEM has been no easy feat. Stepping into a space where Black women are significantly underrepresented caused her to develop a sense of imposter syndrome. She then realized her journey was bigger than herself and was determined to inspire others who look like her; showing them there is a world of possibilities that exist within the industry. Dr. Davis’ work is centered on enzyme research which is an essential component of developing a treatment for tuberculosis.

She hopes her accomplishment will inspire people from underrepresented groups to use STEM as a vessel to evoke change in their communities and beyond. “It feels good to be a trailblazer,” she said in a statement. “I am proud to set an example for underrepresented minorities who dream of using their STEM talents to make the world a better place. My experiences at UTA have equipped me to encourage other students like me to become the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers. Thankfully, my mentors at UTA are brilliant female scientists. Their research accomplishments inspire me to keep going.” Davis—who graduated on August 19—will serve as an assistant professor at her alma mater Langston University. In the role, she will focus on advancing the HBCU’s STEM initiatives.

News about Davis’ accomplishment comes at a time when there has been stagnancy around racial and gender diversity in STEM. According to Catalyst, only 2.9 percent of Black women earned STEM degrees.


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