Black people are continuing to raise the bar in education, and University of Florida graduate Jasmine Bowers is no exception as she’s the first Black person to obtain a doctorate in computer science from the university, Black News reports.
Despite living through a global pandemic and social upheaval in America, Bowers powered through her final semester making history in the process.
According to Bowers, the motivation for her latest accomplishment started at a young age when her mother taught her how to use [Microsoft] Excel to create a “wish list.”
“I grew up in a household where I was encouraged to embrace technology,” Bowers told Because of Them We Can. “I also had the freedom to utilize technologies that included computers and other equipment that my mother, a [self-taught] engineer, had.”
“The Ph.D. was and is the pinnacle of the seed planted years ago, deposits from teachers, internship experiences, amazing mentors, a supportive Ph.D. advisor, and the push from my mother who is and will always be behind me reminding me, ‘you can do this,'” she told BOTWC.
According to BOTWC, the computer science doctoral program at the University of Florida — which was created in the last decade — has the highest number of Black women faculty among other colleges’ computer science departments.
Bowers now joins the ranks of history-making Black women in STEM alongside Mary Jackson — NASA’s first Black woman engineer — and Dr. Patricia Bath — an ophthalmologist who became the first Black woman to receive a medical patent for her invention which created a more precise cataract surgery, BOTWC reports.
Bowers hopes to inspire others who wish to pursue a career in STEM and build up the lack of representation for Black people in science.
“I will be moving to a new state and starting my career as an engineer where I get to put into practice all of my studies. I will continue to give back and encourage young girls to explore STEM,” she said.