Little Known Black History Fact: Dr. Kyla McMullen

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  • Dr. Kyla McMullen has become the first African American woman at the University of Michigan to graduate with a Ph.D. in Computer Science. As a child, McMullen would be on the computer day and night trying to crack the codes.

    McMullen attributes her desire to learn computer sciences to her high school teacher, Dr. Randy Ware, who worked to break his student’s stereotypical view of what a computer scientist looked like.

    One day her high school guidance counselor suggested that she apply for the University of Maryland – Baltimore County’s Meyerhoff Scholarship program. She was a shoe-in. Next up, graduate school, then her Ph.D.

    In 2007, while working on her Masters, McMullen began constructing educational software that taught kids how to make relationships between objects. She’s also worked in research involving the construction of virtual environments that navigate by sound alone. It was a project through the Naval Submarine Medical Research Lab.  The project is being considered for workers in dangerous environments.

    According to a survey conducted by the Computing Research Association, 1.2 % of computer science Ph.D.’s were African American. That’s roughly 16 people.  Dr. McMullen is not alone in her accomplishments. Her best friend, Nwokedi Idika, is now the first African American to get a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Purdue University.

    Dr. McMullen is now one of the newest additions as an Assistant Professor to the Human-Centered Computing division to Clemson University’s School of Computing in Clemson, South Carolina. She has held the office of both President and the Vice President of The Society of Minority Engineers and Scientists and the Vice President of the Movement of Underrepresented Sisters in Engineering and Science (MUSES).

    Have a young student who’s interested in computer science? Email Dr. Kyla McMullen at kyla.mcmullen@gmail.com.

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    One thought on “Little Known Black History Fact: Dr. Kyla McMullen

    1. great little uknown black history I, Charles E. Stevenson, enjoy Tom Joyner Morning Show each day when they mention the little known black history facts that keeps us updated on blacks making history in being the 1st to do something for their community. I have two great shared links that glorifies the significance and impact my grandfather who passed early Monday morning leaving a legacy behind of 89 years that impacted a the Northeast region of North Mississippi. He was the 1st black boyscout executive for the southern region of the United States. One shares a good write up about him and the other link is a audio Mississippi of him doing a interview. He’s a proud fraternity member of J. Anthony’s brown frat Phi Beta Sigma. I would love to see how to share some light to with the rest of the Nation of my late great man of a grandfather Palmer E. Foster RI.P. Sept. 8, 1923-January 7th, 2013. My shared link can found on Charles E. Stevenson timeline one reads as Palmer E. Foster leaves great legacy of 89 years and other reads as Number 196 Great MS moments in history which is a audio snippet 4:29 interviewing my Grandfather. God Bless! Take Care! Tom Joyner Morning and keep entertaining us each and every morning.

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