Legacy STEM Pioneer: Joseph Carter Corbin
During a tumultuous time in United States history, Joseph Carter Corbin stepped forward in the deep south of Arkansas to lay the groundwork for education that would cultivate black STEM pioneers. According to the African American Mathematicians and Mathematical Association of America, Corbin received a bachelor’s degree in art and two master’s degrees. As a regular contributor to mathematical journals, Corbin made a name for himself and became established as one of the great math minds and black STEM pioneers of the time, often represented in Monthly, according to the Forest Park Review. Elected as the Arkansas State Superintendent of Public Education in 1872, Corbin founded the institution that eventually became the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Today’s STEM Leader: Trachette Jackson
As a James S. McConnell 21st Century Scientist, Trachette Jackson’s career continues to flourish as she continues her work in the University of Michigan’s Center for Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics. Combining math and medicine, Jackson works on developing and studying the “…novel mathematical models of tumorigenesis,” according to her website. Dedicating her work to a math-based cancer research concept, Jackson approaches the disease by studying its growth processes and composition. Williams College reveals that Jackson has not only worked as the senior editor for Cancer Research and has also worked with the Journal of Mathematical Biology and the National Academy of Sciences, but as one of the great black STEM pioneers, was named a Sloan Fellow in mathematics in 2003, becoming only the second woman to attain the award.
STEM leaders of the past created a path for generations of innovators, but many of these black STEM pioneers never received the recognition they deserve. It is now time to uncover these stories of early black STEM pioneers and elevate today’s innovators to a level of equality by lauding their accomplishments throughout their careers. Need more inspiration? See our list of black STEM pioneers from 2016. Remember, women and minorities remain underrepresented in STEM careers. Be sure to engage these students to increase their interest in STEM topics.