Mareena Robinson Snowden became the first Black woman to receive a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017.
According to her own website, the Miami native earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Florida A&M University. Snowden continued her education at MIT, where she completed her dissertation on detectors for future nuclear weapons control treaties.
Snowden cites Katherine Johnson, a pioneering NASA mathematician, as a model. According to her own website, the Miami native earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Florida A&M University.
Snowden continued her education at MIT, where she completed her dissertation on detectors for future nuclear weapons control treaties. Snowden cites Katherine Johnson, a pioneering NASA mathematician, as an inspiration, telling CNBC Make It:
“I had a picture of Katherine Johnson on my wall right after ‘Hidden Figures’ came out, because she was a model for me. People ask me all the time, ‘Who’s your role model?’ and you know, you pick and choose from different places. And it was like now, I have a tangible woman. I have Katherine Johnson, who was a mathematician and a black woman killing it.”
Snowden celebrated her remarkable academic milestone on social media, writing in an Instagram photo on June 9: “Walking with MIT’s class of 2018,” she wrote: “No one can tell me God isn’t. Grateful is the best word I have to describe how I feel. Grateful for every part of this experience – highs, and lows. Every person who supported me and those who didn’t. Grateful for a praying family, a husband who took on this challenge as his own, sisters who reminded me at every stage how powerful I am, friends who inspired me to fight harder. Grateful for the professors who fought for and against me. Every experience on this journey was necessary, and I’m better for it.”
She ended her post by praising other Black women working in STEM fields, saying:
“When they ask where the skilled Black female technical minds are, know there are many – @joymariejohnson, @_sai_89, @rhondalenai, @being_niaja, @jtiaphd, @siangoan, April Gillens, @beyoncizzle, Tiera Fletcher, Ciara Sivels, Grey Batie, @tashaleeb, @special_kay868, Staci Brown, Njema Fraizer, @jedidahislerphd, Delonia Wiggins, Jami Valentine Miller and many more – who show up proudly in the fullness of their black womanhood and fight each day for our place in these fields. I’m grateful to be in this number, and happy to have proved the principle in my own department.”
Snowden is currently based in Washington, D.C. and is involved in nuclear weapons modernization.
Dr. Snowden, congratulations! We applaud you, as well as all the other Black women who are breaking new ground in STEM.