Lead text written by Dr. Brian A. Burt (#15)
This article comes as a follow-up to the “Sexy Black Female Scientists” article published on June 14, 2014. That article highlighting Black women in STEM fields ranging from Biophysics to Medicine was desperately needed to offer alternative views of scientists with black and brown skin tones. Some reactions from that bold article sparked the response, “Where are the Black men in science”? This question comes at the amalgamation of scholars dispelling the myths of Black men and boys as delinquents, highlighting the experiences of Black men as high-achievers (see for example work by Dr. Fred Bonner; Dr. Sharon Fries-Britt; Dr. Shaun Harper; Dr. Ivory Toldson), and initiatives, like President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper,” aimed at empowering, encouraging, assisting young Black boys.
Black males, like their Black female counterparts, face unique challenges that require specific attention. One such challenge is seeing positive images from a wide variety of men who look like them. This is especially true today when young boys are bombarded with images from popular culture that continue to assassinate the Black male image (not to mention actual threats of violence to the lives of young boys and men).
Naturally, it was decided that a list of Black male scientists should be developed that highlights an alternative possibility for Black men, which is academic achievement in STEM. This list serves as evidence of examples of men who have overcome many challenges in their respective scientific fields and endeavors. Like the women featured in the “Sexy Black Female Scientists” article, this compilation of talented men defying the odds in academia will help to (re)define what it looks like and what it means to be young, gifted, Black, and interested in science for generations of Black men to come. Let’s change the narrative.’
From Dr. Kyla McMullen
Similar to the initial article, all of the gentlemen featured in this article are people that I actually know or have at most one degree of separation. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, however, a small example to show the media that our Black men are not the thugs that the media so often chooses to portray. Without further ado, ( in no particular order , despite the fact that there are numbers🙂 here are 105 Black male scientists who are helping to change the narrative.
Institution: B.N. Shape
Education: Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Purdue University. B.S. in Computer Engineering from University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Dozie’s graduate research at Purdue focused on Neuroprostheses and Tissue Engineering. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Dec. 2010, Dozie worked for three years as a Product Development Engineer for Cook Biotech, which develops biologic tissue grafts using extracellular matrix technology. While working at Cook, Dozie also pursued his passions for entrepreneurship and health & fitness. He became a freelance writer, publishing articles for Livestrong.com, the Southern Indiana Fitness Source, and his blog, UnbiasedHealth.com. He also started a fitness lifestyle clothing brand called B.N. Shape, which promotes the pursuit and maintenance of a healthy, fit community while encouraging the individuals who thrive within it. BN Shape has grown to over 100,000 worldwide followers through social media, and has sold products to 35 countries. He now runs B.N. Shape full-time while evaluating new business opportunities within STEM fields.
Fun Fact: Dozie has also been a music producer since 2006, specializing in hip hop, R&B, and pop music.
Visit his website
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Education: Ph.D. in Genetics from University of Chicago.
Avery is following his dreams – he uses his love of genetics and gene therapy to develop immunotherapies that treat cancer. In his field, patient T cells are genetically modified with a “sword and shield” that strengthens their ability to find, target, and kill cancer cells. He is an inventor on one US patent and two pending patents of chimeric antigen receptors and expression vectors for gene therapy. Several of Avery’s latest projects are in pre-clinical development and are aimed for Phase I clinical trials in 2015. He is a 2014 UNCF-Merck Postdoctoral Science Research Fellow and intends to pursue an academic faculty position where he continues to invent and develop gene therapies to treat human disease. He will always be an advocate of opening doors in scientific research for underrepresented minorities.
Fun Fact: Avery was the first African-American male to graduate from the University of Chicago with a degree in Genetics, loves to run, play tennis, and sing.
Visit his website
Senior Research Scientist
Institution: Shape Security
Education: Ph.D. in Computer Science from Purdue University. M.S. in Computer Science from Purdue University. B.S. in Computer Science from University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Nwokedi is living a dream. If ten years ago, you told him he would be the first African-American to get a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the first Department of Computer Science in the country–he would not have believed you. If five years ago, you told him that he would be briefing high-ranking government officials on matters of national security as a member of MIT Lincoln Laboratory–he would not have believed you. If one year ago, you told him that in 2014, he would join a Silicon Valley startup to develop techniques to fight robots and cyborgs–he definitely would not have believed you. Having now done all these things, surely he’s suspended his disbelief? Nope, he still can’t believe it.
Fun Fact: Nwokedi is a *huge* fan of black light yoga. He thanks Boston for introducing him to this “otherworldly” experience.
Visit his website