As the numbers of African-Americans earning STEM degrees continue to decrease, it is inspiring to look at some new technology trendsetters who are black. The Grio recently did a roundup of the top African Americans in technology to be on the lookout for in 2013—the list ranged from Malik S. Ducard, the director of content partnerships at Google where he is in charge of premium film, TV, and new media partnerships for YouTube, to old school rapper Christopher Martin (“Play” of rap duo Kid ‘N Play), who is an up-and-coming content producer via Brand Newz… on AllHipHop.com. There were also a number of women on the list.
Also included is Jill Ford, “a San Francisco Bay Area-based business development executive and angel investor who is transforming a variety of industries with strategies forged in mobile gaming,” notes The Grio. Ford is Good Technology’s new VP, and has a Wharton MBA in finance and entrepreneurial management and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Harvard University.
Madame Noire recently interviewed Erin Horne Montgomery, president and executive director of the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs (NAMDE), advocates for, unites, and promotes the interests of diverse companies, organizations, individuals and entities within the technology and broadband market industries.
As more African Americans are celebrated for their achievements in technology, it will encourage others to enter the field. Right now, the numbers are discouraging. Black people are 12 percent of the U.S. population, yet in 2009 they received just seven percent of all STEM bachelor’s degrees, four percent of master’s degrees, and two percent of PhDs, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, as reported by the Huffington Post. “In 2009, African-Americans received 1 percent of degrees in science technologies, and 4 percent of degrees in math and statistics. Out of 5,048 PhDs awarded in the physical sciences, such as chemistry and physics, 89 went to African-Americans – less than 2 percent,” writes HuffPo.