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Representation in STEM: Isler, Dr. Jedidiah

A digital conduit for student-curated content presenting the contributions and challenges faced by underrepresented prominent figures in STEM. Physical banners were placed on display at Baldwin Wallace in spring 2022 with supporting programming scheduled.

Dr. Jedidiah Isler

Dr. Jedidiah Isler is an Assistant Professor of Astrophysics at Dartmouth College. Her research explores how nature does particle acceleration by studying blazers which are supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies and create particle jets moving at nearly the speed of light. She graduated from Norfolk State University’s Dozortez National Institute for Mathematics and Applied Sciences and the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge Program in 2014. Isler became the first African American woman to earn her Ph.D in Astrophysics from Yale. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the NSF, NASA and the Ford Foundation. Dr. Isler can be seen on different radio and television programs such as NPR’s All Things Considered and TED Radio Hour and the Science Channel’s How the Universe Works. She was a 2015 TED fellow and a 2017 Senior TED fellow with her TED talks having over 2.5 million viewers.

Dr. Isler proudly advocates for inclusion and empowerment in STEM fields and is the creator and host of “Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM”. She has also created a non-profit organization named The STEM en Route to Change (SeARCH) Foundation, inc., which is dedicated to using STEM as a pathway for social justice and has developed a variety of initiatives including the #VanguardSTEM online platform and web series. This online network centers the experiences of women of color, girls of color non-binary people of color in STEM. The guiding principle is to “create conversations between emerging and established women of color in STEM, where we can celebrate and affirm our identities and STEM interests in a safe place”. The SeARCH foundation focuses on “the representation, cultivation and amplification of the voices and experiences of persons of color and other marginalized bodies as they navigate and make impacts on the STEM environment and culture”. Since 2013, Jedidah has worked with various committees focused on minorities, and women of color to encourage them to study in a Stem related field.

Dr. Isler has worked with museums, libraries, planetariums, schools, and universities across the country trying to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.  She served as the co-organizer of the NSF-funded Inclusive Astronomy conference in 2015 and later presented the recommendations from the conference to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. She is currently serving on the American Institute of Physics TEAM-UP Task Force where they elevate the representation of African Americans in undergraduate physics and astronomy by hosting workshops, webinars and other efforts to develop action plans for systematic change. This project began in 2017 and the team spent two years investigating the reasons for the persistent underrepresentation of African Americans in physics and astronomy and produced a report with their findings and evidence-based recommendations. From all of her advocacy and research, Jedidah has won her recognition as a Kalvi Frontiers of Science Fellow by the National Academy of Science in 2015. In 2016 she was awarded a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and was awarded one of the Root Magazine’s 100 Most Influential African Americans.

Contributing BW student:

Aleyah Turner: Chemistry major, Forensics minor

External Resources: