The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

March for black women in STEM to take place Saturday, Sept. 30



On Saturday, black women in Washington D.C. and across the country will march for racial justice. In solidarity with these events, Dr. Nicole Joseph, assistant professor of mathematics education, will be leading a march from the steps of Wyatt to Stevenson Center. Joseph decided to plan the march after learning about the national event at a recent conference on the experiences of black women and girls.

“I was just so inspired and I said you know I want to come back home to Vanderbilt and see about collaborating with my community to see if people would like to rally around fully examining the experiences of black women and girls in STEM and just stand and march in solidarity to try to disrupt these things,” Joseph said. “[The march] just sort of put itself together, which helps me to know that it’s meant to be for this to happen.”

Unlike the national marches, which will focus broadly on the experiences of black women in America, the Vanderbilt march will specifically look at the experiences of black women and girls in STEM. For Joseph, the subject is personal, as it is not only what she researches but also part of her personal experience growing up. 

“I think what inspires me is that it was me at one point,” Joseph said. “Going through high school and college, I was the only black girl, a lot of times the only black person, in my upper level math classes.”

Joseph’s research explores the barriers black women and girls, particularly in k-12 education, face in STEM and the ways in which they are able to overcome those barriers. According to her findings, support from family, disruption of typical learning environments and resilience strategies are the three big things that keep black girls in STEM fields and help them find success in those spaces.

There’s not a lot out there, and so I’ve been trying my best to work as hard as I can to do as much empirical research to contribute to some of the gaps in the literature and the knowledge of what we understand is happening,” Joseph said. 

The march was planned in conjunction with professors from TSU, Fisk and MTSU. The event will feature both faculty and student speakers.   

“We’re starting at Wyatt, in education, and  we’re going over to the area where Stevenson hall and basically where all of the STEM buildings are to have our program,” Joseph said. “The significance is that these are spaces that traditionally black women and girls have not been a part of, and so we’re trying to educate these faculty, staff, students who are in these spaces around what’s really going on with under representation and inclusion of black women and girls.”

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About the Contributor
Sam Zern
Sam Zern, Former Managing Editor

Sam Zern ('20) has been a member of The Vanderbilt Hustler since her freshman year, first as a staff writer and shortly after as assistant campus editor. She went on to be campus editor and, later, editor in chief. In her senior year at Vanderbilt, Sam was managing editor and streamlined recruitment and training processes.

In her time as a member of the editorial board, she has prioritized diversity and breadth in coverage, wanting to make sure as much of Vanderbilt as possible is represented in the paper. Outside of The Hustler, she studies education policy and sociology and has worked as a journalist for local publications in Austin and Nashville. She plans to pursue a career in journalism (and will gladly take any and all advice!)

Connect with Sam: [email protected] Personal website Twitter LinkedIn


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