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News Releases Grant Will Support Spelman Project to Capture Critical Data on Women of Color in STEM Share a Spelman College Press Release

Atlanta, GA – Today, Spelman College announced a $5 million grant from, Google’s charitable arm, to the College’s Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM (Center of Excellence) to support the development of a comprehensive data dashboard that will help shape the narrative of the impact of Black women leading, working and studying in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The dashboard will also scale to include the impact of women who are Indigenous and Latina. This is the largest single grant that has awarded to support a project focused on women of color in STEM.

In addition to the grant, will provide a team of Fellows - Google engineers, product managers, UX researchers and designers - who will work with Spelman on a full time, pro bono basis to help build the data dashboard.

“As a proud HBCU graduate, I have profound respect for the steadfast dedication of institutions like Spelman,” said Melonie Parker, chief diversity officer, Google. “They're ensuring that talent is not only cultivated, but visible, which is critically important for women from traditionally underrepresented groups. By providing support to these institutions, we move closer to unlocking equity, which will help us continue to expand pathways to tech."

Nearly 40 years ago, the College committed to becoming the nation’s principal educator of Black women in STEM. Today, Spelman College is nationally recognized as the top producer of Black women who receive doctoral degrees in STEM fields. The grant will allow Spelman to develop a data dashboard, which will serve as a virtual hub for the dissemination of data and research regarding the experiences and “untold stories” of Black women in STEM disciplines.

“We are thankful for this generous contribution from, which will support our ability to continue Spelman’s long history of recognizing and nurturing the contributions of women of color in STEM,” said Helene Gayle, M.D., MPH., president of Spelman College. “Black women continue to play pivotal roles in various scientific disciplines. Being able to effectively document those efforts will strengthen our ability to elevate and value the voices, research, and intersectional experiences of these women.”

One barrier discovered by researchers focused on Black women in STEM is the time it takes to pull data from multiple sources – some of which do not report findings specifically about Black women. One of the goals of this grant is to address this challenge by providing a robust, publicly accessible dashboard with easily understandable data that is critical in the fight for educational equity.

“Access to this type of dashboard with comprehensive data is necessary for making the case for systematic change in STEM,” said Tasha R. Inniss, Ph.D., associate provost for research at Spelman and principal investigator of the Center of Excellence, “Our goal is to become the leading global hub for the development and dissemination of research, data, and curriculum focused on the recruitment, retention, experiences, and advancement of Black women in STEM.”

Inniss said the Center of Excellence is excited to engage researchers at Spelman and receive support from Fellows to design the initial version of the dashboard that will focus on Black women, which we plan to scale to include other women of color that have been historically underrepresented in STEM fields.

“Spelman College is uniquely qualified to lead this important initiative to highlight the successes and stories of Black women,” said Dolores Bradley Brennan, Ph.D., interim provost of Spelman College. “We hope that the Spelman College Center of Excellence’s data dashboard will become the ‘go-to resource’ for researchers, policymakers, journalists, K-12 teachers, and anyone else interested in developing, utilizing, and elevating the work of Black women in STEM.”


About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by the U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 51 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 19 for undergraduate teaching, No. 5 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 16th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal has ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and collaborations have been established with MIT’s Media Lab, the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones.

To learn more, please visit and @spelmancollege on social media.


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