Ten Black Women STEM Icons to Celebrate

March 11, 2022

For Women’s History Month we decided to highlight 10 women of color who have made an impact in the world of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Read on and find out about some awesome ladies of STEM.

1. Claudia Alexander

A Canadian-born American research scientist specializing in geophysics and planetary science, Alexander worked for the United States Geological Survey and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She was the last project manager of NASA’s Galileo mission to Jupiter.

2. Alice Augusta Ball

The first African-American and the first woman to graduate from the University of Hawaii with a Master’s Degree, Ball was the first African-American and first female chemistry professor at the school. Ball is most notable for developing the novel ‘Ball Method’ to treat leprosy which helped almost 8,000 leprosy patients. This method allowed them to be discharged from hospitals and saved many lives for years to come.

3. Euphemia Lofton Haynes

The first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics, Hayes taught in the public schools of Washington, D.C., for 47 years. In1966 she became the first woman to chair the DC Board of Education, on which she served through 1967.

4. Ruth Ella Moore

A bacteriologist and microbiologist, Moore was the first African-American woman to be awarded a Ph.D. in natural science. As the head of the department of bacteriology at Howard University, she renamed it the Department of Microbiology.

5. Valerie Thomas

A NASA Data Analyst, Thomas invented the illusion transmitter for which she received a patent in 1980. She’s responsible for developing the digital media formats image processing systems used in the early years of the Landsat program. 

6. Lisette Titre-Montgomery

Working as an artist and designer for video game giants like EA Games, Litre-Montgomery has contributed to well-known games like Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007, The Simpsons Game, The Godfather II, and Dante’s Inferno. This was all before becoming the lead artist at Backbone Entertainment and manager of the art and computer animation department for Ubisoft.

7. Patricia S. Cowings

The first American woman to be trained as a scientist-astronaut, she was an alternate in 1979 and thus never made it to space. Nevertheless, she spent her 34-year career at NASA making it better for astronauts through her studies on the effects of gravity on human physiology and performance. In addition to this, she helped to find cures for astronaut’s motion sickness

8. Bessie Blount Griffin

A physical therapist from New Jersey, Blount invented a device to help handicapped soldiers returning from the Second World War with lost limbs. The device helped soldiers in feeding themselves by liquifying food through a tube to a mouthpiece that could be used, whether its user was sitting up or lying down. Biting down on the tube signaled the machine to deliver another mouthful.

9. Aletha Maybank

A physician and associate commissioner at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Aletha Maybank is a founding board member of the Artemis Medical Society. This organization is an international mentoring, networking, and advocacy organization of more than 2,500 black female physicians.

10. Carolyn Parker

The first African-American woman known to have gained a postgraduate degree in physics, Parker worked from 1943 to 1947 on the Dayton Project, the plutonium research and development arm of the Manhattan Project. She was one of a small number of African American scientists and technicians on the Manhattan Project.

William Satterwhite is the creator of the superhero webcomic Stealth and a freelance designer, internet consultant, and illustrator living in Douglasville, Ga. His professional website can be found at www.williamsatterwhite.info.


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