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BEYA legacy honoree Sandra K. Johnson has left a significant impact on the tech industry since becoming the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1988. However, individuals like her remain rare even in 2024.

“I would like to congratulate my daughter, Dr. Ciara Rose Horne McClung on getting her PhD in Systems Engineering from University of Virginia,” Deborah Horne wrote on LinkedIn “I am so proud of you.”

Three years ago, UVA Engineering shared that Ciara, a computer network technology researcher, received a fellowship from the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on High-Performance Computing.

The organization is dedicated to advancing the fields of supercomputing, high-end computers, and cluster computing through cutting-edge research and practical applications. The Computational and Data Science Fellowships support diverse students pursuing graduate degrees.

In the spring of 2017, three Florida A&M University (FAMU) students made USBE headlines when they earned their doctorate degrees in engineering.

In 2020, Norfolk State University alum Korie Grayson also made headlines when she graduated from her PhD program in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University.

Only 4.4% of doctoral degrees are earned by Black women, according to the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates.

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