Trailblazing information systems professor, Siobahn Day Grady, Ph.D., is a Black tech unicorn you should know about. Not only is she the first woman to receive a doctorate degree in the field of computer science — according to North Carolina Central University — from North Carolina A&T State University in 2018, but she also recently received a $190,000 grant to conduct research to improve self-driving cars.

Grady received the grant from the National Science Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Excellence in Research program and plans to use the funds to research and identify issues with self-driving cars.

“This research is very timely and relevant; it’s the future,” Grady said, according to North Carolina Central University. “I’m excited to contribute to the field as well as provide research opportunities to students.”

North Carolina Central University reports that Grady’s research will center around analyzing fault-detection capabilities of self-driving vehicles including “transient, which occur due to external factors, such as the environment; intermittent, where problems are known to occur on an occasional but regular basis; and permanent, which occur regularly because of a physical malfunction and must be corrected to achieve reliability.”

Data collected from Grady’s research will be a part of a $1 million NSF study to reduce self-driving car incidents in real-time and also will provide advance course selections for students.

“Dr. Grady is a pioneer in artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Jon Gant, Ph.D., of the School of Library and information science. “Students in the SLIS graduate program in information science will gain high-demand skills by working with Dr. Grady to develop the next generation of vehicles that will be more intelligent and make transportation in our society safer.”

In addition, Grady will be featured as a life-sized 3D statue at NorthPark in Dallas this summer as a part of a $25 million initiative aimed at honoring female scientists.