As is true for all the hard sciences, black women are woefully underrepresented in physics. According to African American Women in Physics, just 74 black women hold a PhD in physics, astronomy, applied physics and space physics combined. Compare that to the 1,743 people who, according to the American Institute of Physics, graduated with a physics PhD in 2013 alone. The numbers are simply staggering.
The Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-PhD Bridge Program hopes to improve that by providing students who’ve graduated with a bachelor’s in science the courses, training and research skills they need to prepare for a doctorate program in a supportive environment. The program is attended by just a handful of brilliant students each year. LaNell Williams, who graduated from Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree in physics last month, is hoping to attend the Fisk-Vanderbilt program this fall in order to complete her master’s and apply for a PhD program. But she has to get there first.
Williams is raising just $3,000 for basic expenses, like travel and housing, to get to Nashville, Tennessee, to start the program. In the last five months, she’s raised less than half of that, and still needs $1,900 to make pursue her dream of obtaining a doctorate in physics. You can read more about her effort on her GoFundMe page.