Meet Dr. Jedidah Isler

In 2014 Dr. Jedidah Isler became the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Yale University.  Her fascination with stars came about when she was a young girl.

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Dr. Jedidah Isler is a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia and a graduate of the Dozoretz National Institute for Mathematics and Applied Sciences program at Norfolk State University. Dr. Isler later received a Master in Physics as part of initial cohort in the Fisk Vanderbilt Masters to Ph.D. Bridge Program. She has a lot of accolades but the one she made last year is the achievement that has everyone talking and of course has to be lifting her spirits. Dr. Isler has become the first African-American woman to receive her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Yale University, completing an award-winning study that examines the physics of particle jets emanating from supermassive black holes at the centers of distant galaxies.

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In her interview with NPR Dr. Isler talks about how she didn’t always feel welcome at Yale University.

But she didn’t always feel welcome at Yale, and her story demonstrates how far there still is to go. Isler says that during her first year, she and a group of about a dozen fellow graduate students went out to an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant.

“So there are plates everywhere,” she recalls. Everyone seemed full and content. “And all of a sudden, this kid in my class hands me a pile of his dirty plates” — the student is a white male — “he just kind of hands them to me and says, ‘Here, now go and do what you’re really here to do.'”

To learn more about Dr. Isler check out her website and check out this video where she talks about how she fell in love with quasars, blazars and the universe.

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