This is Black History month; next month is Women’s History month. We celebrate by highlighting the first black woman to earn her Ph.D. in physics in the U.S., Willie Hobbs Moore, who was also an electrical engineer and received her degree in physics from the University of Michigan in 1972. Dr. Moore is known for a number of achievements including bringing Japanese manufacturing practices to Ford in the 1980s, working in the field of molecular spectroscopy, and supporting STEM education for minority students.
Dr. Moore was able to break through a glass ceiling but, unfortunately, fifty years later this glass ceiling remains for many minorities. This IEEE article suggests institutions need to move beyond public statements expressing solidarity with the Black community to examining the different types of anti-Black violence that is tolerated within their own campuses, such as beginning with engineering education and practice. This examination should include what the authors call the “engineering ecosystem” and the “three realms of experience” that Black students must navigate within this ecosystem (mainstream culture, Black culture; the status of the oppressed minority).
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