In the entire United States, there are only 80 Black female physicists. In addition, of those pursuing degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Black women in 2012 earned 684 STEM degrees, white women earned 6,777, and white men received 8,478 STEM degrees. But that did not stop 35-year-old Black female physicist Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green from winning a $1.1 million grant for cancer research.
Her personal journey:
Dr. Green, an assistant professor at Tuskegee University, became interested in cancer research after losing both her aunt and her uncle to cancer; her aunt and uncle raised her. Her goal is to research the use of laser technology to kill cancer and reduce the terrible side effects of current cancer treatments. Green is the first woman to win the five-year grant geared toward nurturing Black scientists from the Veterans Administration Research Scientist Training Program.
Although there is a large gap in STEM fields for Black women, Green is the first one to focus on what’s important. She does not look at herself as a woman scientist or a Black scientist; she is a scientist, period. “When someone says scientist, I want them to think of someone other than Albert Einstein,” Green stated.
An amazing example to other young women:
Nevertheless, Dr. Green is an inspiration to other young Black females wanting to become a scientist like Green. She is eager to help other young women reach their goals in the sciences. Her advice to others? “Perseverance and tenacity is critical for anyone—female or male, white or Black—who seeks to build a career in science,” she notes. She should know: she applied for her grant several times before she got it.