Top Black Women Techies

The number of black women in science and technology is larger than one might think, but still too small. The women featured in this gallery use their science, math and engineering degrees in sectors ranging from academia to finance to satellite research.

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  • Wanda M. Austin

    Wanda M. Austin

    President and CEO
    The Aerospace Corp.

    Wherever there’s a federal eye in the sky, Austin knows about it. It’s her job as head of Aerospace, “a leading architect for the nation’s national security space programs” — that and managing 4,000 employees and garnering about $850 million in annual revenues. The native New Yorker has a B.S. in math and a master’s and a doctorate in systems engineering.

    Captions by Frank McCoy

  • Ursula Burns

    Ursula Burns

    Chairman and CEO
    Xerox

    Burns was named head of the $15 billion computer and office equipment company in 2007. After leading key business units at Xerox and helping her predecessor Ann Mulcahy remake the company, she was a natural choice to succeed Mulcahy. Burns, who earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York and a master’s in engineering from Columbia, was an intern at Xerox in 1980. Thirty years later, President Obama appointed her vice chair of his Export Council.

  • Susan E. Chapman

    Susan E. Chapman

    Senior Vice President
    Global Real Estate and Work Place Enablement
    American Express

    Always eager to learn, Chapman has a B.S. in engineering from Vanderbilt University, a master’s in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before Amex, she was a senior executive at Citigroup and worked as an investment banker. She has been honored for mentoring young people, particularly girls.

  • Linda Clement-Holmes

    Linda Clement-Holmes

    Senior Vice President
    Chief Diversity Officer
    The Procter & Gamble Co.

    During nearly 30 years at the $80 billion household and personal-product company, Clement-Holmes rose from systems analyst to expert on information technology and global business services. She earned a B.S. in industrial management and computer science from Purdue University, and has served on the boards of the National Urban League, Jack & Jill of America and other organizations.

  • Laverne Council

    Laverne Council

    Corporate Vice President and CIO
    Johnson & Johnson

    Council has global responsibility. She oversees a nearly $2 billion budget and more than 4,000 IT management employees. Council addresses the information technology needs of more than 250 operating companies within J&J. She holds a computer science degree from Western Illinois University and an MBA in operations management from Illinois State University. Prior to J&J, she was the global vice president for IT at Dell.

  • Aprille Ericsson-Jackson

    Aprille Ericsson-Jackson

    Aerospace Engineer
    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)

    In 1996, Ericsson-Jackson, who had already had a B.S. in aeronautical/astronautical engineering from MIT, was the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University. She was also the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in engineering at GSFC.

  • Emma Garrison-Alexander

    Emma Garrison-Alexander

    Chief Information Officer
    Transportation Security Administration

    This is a well-trained and tested CIO. Garrison-Alexander spent more than 20 years at the National Security Agency, rising from electronic engineer to deputy for counterterrorism for signals intelligence development. She has a B.S. in electrical engineering and an M.S. in telecommunications management, and she focused on technology and information systems while earning her Ph.D. in management. She is a graduate of the NSA leadership program.

  • Linda Gooden

    Linda Gooden

    Executive Vice President
    Information Systems & Global Solutions
    Lockheed Martin Corp.

    Gooden is the one of the most powerful women in the aerospace and defense industry. She oversees a division that provides more than $11 billion in revenues for the $45 billion company. Her division supports “missions of civil, defense, intelligence and other government customers.” Gooden is armed with a computer technology degree, a B.S. in business administration and an MBA.

  • Kim Goodman

    Kim Goodman

    President
    Merchant Services Americas
    American Express

    Her corporate mandate is to spread the gospel of plastic acceptance. She holds a B.A. and an M.S. in industrial engineering from Stanford University and a Harvard University MBA. Prior to Amex, she led Dell’s $5 billion peripherals-and-software business. The Chicagoan manages Amex’s merchant business in North and South America with goals of revenue growth and market expansion.

  • Vicki Hamilton

    Vicki Hamilton

    Senior Vice President
    Enterprise Performance
    Turner Broadcasting System

    Hamilton has a reputation for making whatever she does more efficient and profitable. During her career, she has held senior positions in information technology, business and sales. At TBS, her resource-management and project-facilitation skills are used on “large-scale, multidivisional technology initiatives.” She has a B.S. in business administration from the University of Dayton and an MBA from St. Louis University.

  • Sharon Haynie

    Sharon Haynie

    Principal Investigator
    DuPont Central Research

    Haynie has spent 27 years in DuPont’s central R&D department. The multiple patent holder’s research includes antimicrobial material, medical adhesives and green chemistry applications. She has a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in chemistry from MIT. In 2008, Haynie received the Percy Julian Award from NOBCChE, the black chemists’ national organization.

  • Wyllstyne D. Hill

    Wyllstyne D. Hill

    Vice President of IT and CIO
    Missile Systems
    Raytheon

    If there are ways to adapt image analysis from battlefield usage to skin cancer detection, Hill wants to find them. From the Missile Systems office in Tucson, Ariz., the former Tuskegee University math major with a computer-science minor supports 11,000 information systems users and has 500 employees. A longtime mentor, she has earned two executive management certificates.

  • Deborah Jackson

    Deborah Jackson

    Program Director
    Engineering Research Centers
    National Science Foundation

    Jackson earned a B.S. in physics at MIT in 1974 and a Ph.D. in new laser technology at Stanford University in 1980. She helps guide the NSF’s support for engineering research centers around the nation, helping them break barriers that conventional approaches to problems cannot solve. Jackson earlier spent 13 years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory before joining the NSF.

  • Shirley Ann Jackson

    Shirley Ann Jackson

    President
    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    The leader of the oldest private technological university in the nation — where 60 percent of students are in engineering — is dynamic. Since arriving in 1999, she has been RPI’s greatest fundraiser, bringing in more than $1.4 billion for the school’s facilities, equipment, technology, faculty and infrastructure. The visionary earned both her S.B. in physics and her Ph.D. in theoretical elementary particle physics from MIT.

  • Sandra K. Johnson

    Sandra K. Johnson

    Senior Technical Staff Member
    CTO, Global Small and Medium Business
    IBM Corp.

    Big Blue has a diamond in Johnson. A member of the IBM Academy of Technology, the top 1 percent of IBM’s 250,000 technical employees, she has more than 40 patents and is a specialist in software and hardware research performance optimization. The Southern University-trained electrical engineer also has a master’s from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from Rice University, both in electrical engineering.

  • Jonecia Keels and Jazmine Miller

    Jonecia Keels and Jazmine Miller

    Computer scientists
    Spelman College

    The next generation is ready to soar. In 2010, Keels and Miller beat Harvard and Stanford to win the AT&T Big Mobile on Campus Challenge. Keels — in Spelman’s Dual Degree Engineering program — and Miller, a computer science major, also co-captained the college robotics team, which tied for first place in the RoboCup Japan Open 2009 tournament.

  • Melodie Mayberry-Stewart

    Melodie Mayberry-Stewart

    New York State CIO
    Director, New York State Office for Technology

    Thirty years ago, when Mayberry-Stewart was a systems engineer at IBM, the chief information officer job barely existed. Now she presides over 5,600 IT professionals, has a $2 billion budget and serves 19 million state residents. Mayberry-Stewart, who works with local, state and federal officials, has a Ph.D., with a specialty in information systems management, from Claremont Graduate University in California.

  • Joan Robinson-Berry

    Joan Robinson-Berry

    Director, Small/Diverse Business & Strategic Alliances
    Boeing

    Last February, Robinson-Berry, the first black female member of Boeing’s technology strategy council, told attendees at a Small Business Technology Transfer Summit that Boeing expects to have a diverse supplier network to accelerate technology solutions. Robinson-Berry, who holds several patents and a degree in engineering management, spoke at the largely minority California State University, Los Angeles. Boeing gives out more than $5 billion in contracts to small and diverse businesses annually.

  • Suzanne F. Shank

    Suzanne F. Shank

    President and CEO
    Siebert Brandford Shank & Co.

    The head of one of the top black-owned investment banks, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC, Shank started out as a techie. Shank earned a B.S. in engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. The combination clearly assisted her rise as a municipal-bonds specialist who understands engineering and fiscal concerns.

  • Window Snyder

    Window Snyder

    Security and Privacy Product Manager
    Apple Inc.

    Synder’s parents, both programmers, taught her BASIC when she was 5 years old. Subsequently, Snyder picked up cryptography, which led her to cybersecurity. Prior to Apple, she headed security for the Mozilla Corp., which created the Firefox browser, and spent three years at Microsoft working on Windows XP and servers. She also maintains contacts with good and bad hackers. Follow her on Twitter.

  • Tracey T. Travis

    Tracey T. Travis

    Chief Financial Officer
    Polo Ralph Lauren Corp.

    Travis gets retail — and tech. Prior to Polo, she worked at PepsiCo and as SVP of finance at Limited Brands. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with an industrial engineering degree and added an MBA from Columbia University’s business school. Since 2005, her portfolio has included corporate finance and financial planning and analysis at the $5 billion clothing-and-lifestyle firm.