Meet The First African American Woman to Graduate from Yale with PhD in Astrophysics – See more at:

By: Evette Champion

As a little girl, Jedidah Isler was fascinated by the night sky. She has taken that love and worked her way toward becoming an astrophysicist though the Astrophysics program at Yale University. Now, she studies blazars—super massive, hyper-active black holes that produce powerful jet streams. Blazars are considered to be the most efficient particle accelerators, as they can transfer energy throughout complete galaxies.

Isler was one of three students to be accepted into the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge Program. This program is a program that works to improve the diversity within the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics field of study. According to studies, these areas do not have many minorities with PhD degrees. So, with this program in place, it helps minorities  with master’s degrees step up to obtain a PhD.

Although Yale employed the program in an effort to diversify its student body, Isler said she didn’t always feel welcome at the school. She shared that during her first year attending the university, she and a group of students went to an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet.

“So there are plates everywhere,” she recalls. Everyone seemed full and content. “And all of a sudden, this kid in my class hands me a pile of his dirty plates” — the student is a white male — “he just kind of hands them to me and says, ‘Here, now go and do what you’re really here to do.’”

jedidah_isler Isler shared that she felt devastated, not only because it actually happened, but it limited how she could react. “If I get really mad, then I’m the angry black woman. But if I give too much concession, then I’m sort of too conciliatory, and it was just weird. It let me know that this is not a safe space for me. … It took me years to get past that.”

And past it she did, as she is now an Astrophysicist who is doing speaking engagements, consulting, and is deeply involved with promoting STEM engagement.

Do you think Isler will be a motivational force in getting other young Black girls interested in fields of study such as science, technology and math?



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"Mastering You" is about helping African American's to see their value in this world. I post only positive stories and information about what African American's have contributed to society in the past and currently. I don't post anything about Sports, Entertainment, Religion, or Politics. I also don't post anything that has a negative spin. While I am aware that there are negative things happening all over the world and that most people focus on the above four topics when it comes to African American's that is not my goal. If all you heard was negativity about any race that's all you will come to expect from them and everything else will be out of the norm. My goal is to show everyone that the negativity is often out of the norm, or at best they are equal to the positive. Just like every other race.
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