Top Graduate: University of Michigan Celebrates The First African-American Woman to Earn Ph.D. in Computer Science

January 14, 2013  |  

Image via UMich.edu

Kyla McMullen isn’t merely graduating from the University at Michigan. She is actually the first African-American woman Ph.D. graduate in computer science at the university.

But McMullen isn’t fully celebrating. According to McMullen, the experience is “bittersweet” because of the low number of  women and minorities pursuing advanced degrees in computer science. In fact, out of the more than 1,400 Americans who received Ph.D.s in computer science from 2010 to 2011, less than a quarter were female, and a mere 1.2 percent – 16 people – were African-American, according to the latest Computing Research Association Taulbee Survey.

Intrigued by computer science as a young girl, McMullen was selected to participate in The University of Maryland, Baltimore County´s (UMBC) Meyerhoff Scholarship Program. After that, she thrived at The University of Michigan, where she was president of The Society of Minority Engineers and Scientists and the vice president of the Movement of Underrepresented Sisters in Engineering and Science.

McMullen should have many doors open for her. As we reported recently STEM  majors are greatly deserved on the job market, And there are few women in these fields. And according to a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, “the demand will far outstrip the supply for these coveted graduates;” reports The Washington Post.

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