Toward an Inclusive STEM Enterprise: Ideas on Leadership

Jedidah Isler Headshot

Dr. Jedidah Isler

AWARD-WINNING ASTROPHYSICIST; TED FELLOW

October 29, 2016

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Lecture Summary: Women's Leadership Conference Offers Inspiration, Advice and Contacts→

ABSTRACT: Inclusive engagement in science, technology, engineering and math brings new ideas and perspectives to the forefront for developing innovative solutions to some of the most urgent issues of our time. Yet many barriers exist that prevent women, people of color and other members of underrepresented groups from participating in these fields. To manifest our greatest potential, we must work toward an inclusive STEM enterprise where the highest forms of innovation and excellence are achieved through diversity of thought, experience and representation. 

BIOGRAPHY: Dr. Jedidah Isler is an award-winning astrophysicist, TED Fellow, and nationally recognized speaker and advocate for inclusive STEM education. She is also the creator and host of the monthly web series "Vanguard Conversations with Women of Color in STEM." Dr. Isler received her bachelor's degree at Norfolk State University's Dozoretz National Institute for Mathematics and Applied Sciences before earning a master’s in physics from the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master's-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program, a pioneering effort to increase the attainment of advanced STEM degrees by students of color. Dr. Isler continued her education at Yale University, where her research on supermassive, hyperactive black holes was supported by fellowships from NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

In 2014, she became the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Yale. Dr. Isler has served as a Chancellor's Faculty Fellow at Syracuse University and as an affiliate of the Future Faculty Leader Fellowship at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and is currently a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University. She was recognized as a 2015 TED Fellow for her astrophysical research and innovative efforts to inspire a new generation of STEM leaders from underrepresented backgrounds. 

This lecture was sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Graduate Student Affairs, and the Office of the President and was a part of the 2016 Leadership Conference: Women Empowering Women.