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Meet Kyla McMullen: The 1st Black Woman to Graduate With a PhD In Computer Science at Univ of Michigan

Dr. Kyla McMullen is the first African American woman to gradute with a PhD in computer sciences at University of Michigan.

Dr. Kyla McMullen

Dr. Kyla McMullen is the first African American woman to graduate with a PhD in computer science at the University of Michigan. When asked how she feels about her new title, the scholar replied “Bittersweet.” She explained that it’s gratifying to have the distinction of being the university’s first African American female to acquire a PhD in computer science, it reminds her of a sad reality: There aren’t enough men and women of color pursuing advanced degrees in computer science.

Out of the more than 1,400 Americans who received PhD’s in computer science from 2010 to 2011, less than a quarter were female, and a mere 1.2 percent – 16 people – were African-American, according to the latest Computing Research Association Taulbee Survey. Dr. McMullen has always had a passion for computer science and was nurtured throughout high school. Fortunately, the high school she attended had a special computer science track program. This meant exposure to a curriculum that most high schools lack, and the opportunity to take courses in computer programming and engineering early on.

If it were not for the advice of a guidance counselor — who’d recommended that she apply for UMBC’s Meyerhoff Scholarship Program — she probably wouldn’t have considered acquiring a PhD. in the field. “It was an excellent opportunity,” says McMullen of the program. Interesting enough one of her two study buddies, Nwokedi Ibika, is coincidentally the first African-American to get a PhD. in computer science from Perdue University.

52 Responses to Meet Kyla McMullen: The 1st Black Woman to Graduate With a PhD In Computer Science at Univ of Michigan

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  13. matt carmody

    January 31, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    God bless you, Dr. McMullen. Now pass it on.

  14. Ollie Ferrell

    January 18, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Congratulations Dr.McMullen on your Accomplishment,Education is the key to our sucess. You arre an awesome example for women everywhere.

  15. blacjk jones

    January 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    This is a great accomplishment…..lets give the ladies support in any way we can to accomplish many great things…..PEACE!!!!!!

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    January 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    This is a great accomplishment…..lets give the ladies support in any way we can to accomplish many great things…..PEACE!!!!!!

  17. elzora holland

    January 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    As a former academic advisor at The University of Michigan, I know Dr. McMullen accomplishment was no easy task. She soars heads above most. This is amazing. I am so proud of her. She has paved the way for others. I feel blessed to witness her achievement.

  18. elzora holland

    January 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    As a former academic advisor at The University of Michigan, I know Dr. McMullen accomplishment was no easy task. She soars heads above most. This is amazing. I am so proud of her. She has paved the way for others. I feel blessed to witness her achievement.

  19. elzora holland

    January 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    As a former academic advisor at The University of Michigan, I know Dr. McMullen accomplishment was no easy task. She soars heads above most. This is amazing. I am so proud of her. She has paved the way for others. I feel blessed to witness her achievement.

  20. elzora holland

    January 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    As a former academic advisor at The University of Michigan, I know Dr. McMullen accomplishment was no easy task. She soars heads above most. This is amazing. I am so proud of her. She has paved the way for others. I feel blessed to witness her achievement.

  21. elzora holland

    January 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    As a former academic advisor at The University of Michigan, I know Dr. McMullen accomplishment was no easy task. She soars heads above most. This is amazing. I am so proud of her. She has paved the way for others. I feel blessed to witness her achievement.

    • matt carmody

      January 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      I guess the former academic advisor didn’t take the class that taught how to post only one comment containing identical content.

  22. Ann G.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    I could not be any more proud of you if you were my daughter! Congrats! I just wish we had more Black women going the distance. Education is truly the key to our success, if we don’t have it, we cannot complain!

  23. al williams

    January 10, 2013 at 10:47 am

    RIGHT ON SISTER,I DON’T KNOW YOU, BUT I FEEL VERY PROUD OF YOU AS IF YOU WERE MY OWN DAUGHTER,GOD BLESS YOU..