Throughout history, African-American people have helped advance the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Black History Month is the perfect time for students to celebrate the incredible achievements of these STEM researchers.
Four powerful examples include1:
An American scientist who made valuable contributions in the fields of medicine, philanthropy, food science, and astrochemistry. His achievements led to his induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his work on Bio-luminescence in 2007. Being honored as one of the 100 most distinguished African American scientists of the 20th century, he was also one of the members of the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society of Photobiology, the American Society of Microbiology, and the American Society of Black Chemists.
Mae Jemison, MD
Mae Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Jemison joined NASA's astronaut corps in 1987 and was selected to serve for the STS-47 mission, during which she orbited the Earth for nearly eight days on September 12–20, 1992.
George Washington Carver
American agricultural scientist and inventor who promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. He was the most prominent black scientist of the early 20th century. Carver was also a leader in promoting environmentalism
While a professor at Tuskegee Institute, Carver developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton. He wanted poor farmers to grow other crops, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes, as a source of their own food and improve their quality of life.
Shirley Ann Jackson, PhD
An American physicist and the eighteenth president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is the first African-American woman to have earned a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is also the second African-American woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in physics. Ms. Jackson has contributed to the knowledge of charged density waves in layered compounds, polaronic aspects of electrons in the surface of liquid helium films, and optical and electronic properties of semiconductor strained-layer superlattices.
Celebrate Black History Month with a set of free printable posters showcasing each of these science trailblazers. We’ve partnered with WeAreTeachers and professional book illustrator Kim Holt to create these original works of art.
Get these posters to inspire your students to blaze their own trail in STEM fields―maybe one of them will be memorialized on a school poster one day. Visit WeAreTeachers to download the posters.
Scientists Through the Ages
Read about some of history’s greatest scientists and try fun experiments that demonstrate their theories. Scientists Through the Ages profiles the lives and work of more than 25 important thinkers in astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics.
Connect Today's Students to Tomorrow's STEM Careers
Provides hands-on and digital STEM resources to help teachers connect their students to the real-world STEM skills they need to succeed in tomorrow's workforce.