5 Female Engineers Who Are Smashing it in Their Field

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Ayanna Howard

Howard is the founder and chief technology officer of Zyrobotics. In addition to her business affairs, she has a doctorate in robotics and is a professor at Georgia Tech teaching machine learning and robotics. Her company creates robotic toys for special-needs children.

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  1. I had a good long talk with some young smart black girls the other day at the Juneteenth fest out here and I told them that there is a conspiracy against them to stop being good in math and science as they progress in school. I asked them who among them was at the top of their class in math and they all raised their hands. I told them that once they get to high school and college that they would be dissuaded from being engineers and scientists and that they should insist on it and never let anyone talk them out of it. One of the girls said, "Well I don't understand why there isn't more black women in those jobs because all of the girls are smarter than the boys in my class." I said its because they don't want you to make money or have power and to influence the society as women.

    They all knew about Mae Jemison being the first black woman in space and when I told them that I met her and spoke to her, all of their eyes lit up and they were really excited. I told them that I said to her that growing up I just never thought I would see a black woman astronaut and she said to me "Why not?" and they loved it. They left feeling very validated and empowered. We need to really insist on giving black girls this boost of confidence and all of the tools and info they need. It's vital.