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Resilience and Success

The Professional Journeys of African American Women Scientists

Series:

Kabba E. Colley and Binta M. Colley

Resilience and Success charts the education and career trajectories of African American women scientists and sheds light as to why young African American females drop off the science map in high school. It constructs a story about the map, which includes exits, entrances and turns. This phenomenon was influenced by cultural and socio-economic issues; class, race relations and racial biases; geography and most important, opportunities and serendipity. None of the roads were smooth as these African American women followed in the footsteps of those who had gone before them. It is critical for young African American female students to know that they have a passion and sense of curiosity befitting a future scientist. The stories of these women serve as a model for the way families, teachers, counselors, community activists and policy makers can participate in developing a new generation of African American women scientists.

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CHAPTER 4: Facts and Figures on African American Women in Science 30

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CHAPTER 4 Facts and Figures on African American Women in Science We started this book by tracing the history of women in science and the con- temporary history of African American women in science. Now that we have provided some historical context about the past, it is essential to take a look at the present. In this chapter, we will examine the records on the state of U.S. science in order to answer the questions: What do we know about African American women scientists in the US at the present time? What academic and professional trajectories do they follow? To answer these questions, we used survey data published by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Na- tional Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering website: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/tables.cfm. The site published data tables on U.S. demographics, enrollments in science and engineering at the undergraduate and graduate levels, degrees awarded by levels, postdoctor- ates, and employment. Most of the data contained in the tables are reported by sex, race and/or ethnicity, and disability status, and cover the following periods: 2006–2010, 2008, and 2001–2010. To summarize and describe the data, we use analysis techniques and procedures for visualizing and commu- nicating data suggested by Harris (1996). The chapter focuses on the academic preparation of African American women in science and engineering as well as their participation in these fields. We concentrated on only data reported for the periods 2008 and 2001–2010. This...

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