TheGrio’s 100: Njema Frazier, nuclear weapons physicist developing future scientists

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Physicist Njema Frazier manages the development of the codes for weapons simulations, creating computer models to test the hypothetical safety, performance, and reliability of aging warheads. As the United States government moves from a test-based defense system to a simulation-based one, Frazier’s work is modernizing the way the United States will defend itself in the 21st century.

Njema Frazier is making history … by protecting the future, both through her work as a physicist as well as a mentor for up and coming scientists. Working for the National Defense Program, Frazier attempts the difficult task of maintaining our nuclear strength as a defense deterrent without risking lives by testing and handling dangerous materials.

As a theoretical nuclear physicist and a federal government employee, Frazier is a new addition to these two communities predominately occupied by white males. As the 2008 National Alumni Chair of the National Society of Black Engineers, Frazier has lectured and mentored students, from kindergarteners to high school seniors, to teach them about science education, using her public status to set an example to black students as both a political and science role model.

What’s next for Njema?

Frazier hopes to put her technical, policy, government, management, and educational experience to work addressing education reform issues at the state and national level.

In her own words …

“I am inspired by people who work tirelessly for others with no recognition and no expectation of compensation beyond their altruism,” Frazier told theGrio. “By working with and mentoring black students, I feel that I honor our proud history of community support, bring up those who follow us, and the mantra that ‘it takes a village.’”

A favorite quote …

“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” – Denis Waitley

A little-known fact …

In 1997, Frazier earned her Ph.D. in nuclear physics from MSU. She is one of the first and only African-American women with such expertise.

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