Cohort Sistas 3.1% campaign celebrates Black women with doctoral degrees

The initiative kicked off on March 1 and over the next 31 days; the organization calls on the community financial and social support.

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Cohort Sistas launched the 3.1% Campaign, raising funds and awareness to support Black women pursuing doctoral degrees and highlighted 31 women who are living history.

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Using the hashtag #3Point1Percent, the organization aims to encourage donating, engaging, and sharing of Black women’s stories across the board. According to the campaign website, only 3% of doctoral degree recipients are Black women. Data shows that lack of mentorship, lack of community, and lack of resources are consistent hurdles to Black women seeking higher education.

Cohort Sistas hopes to remove the obstacles and close the gap.

Cohort Sistas
(Screenshot via Instagram)

Since its founding in July of 2020 by Dr. Ijeoma Kola, the network has grown to over 1,300 members from more than 40 countries. Members study a wide range of subjects from cancer biology to the sociology of Black girlhood. Through programs, opportunities, and a podcast, the group improves “access to doctoral programs for Black women, helps current students better navigate their academic and professional journeys, and provides a community-centered support system to alleviate the loneliness and heal the hurt that we face along the way.”

As part of the 3.1% initiative launched on March 1 to last the entire Women’s History Month, Cohort Sistas highlighted 31 different Black women who have doctoral degrees and exist as thought leaders, inventors, and change-makers in their respective fields.

View the list below:

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Dr. Lilia Ann Abron

Dr. Lilia Ann Abron is the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and the first Black woman to create an engineering consulting firm. She holds her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Iowa.

Dr. Grace Alele-Williams

Dr. Grace Alele-Williams is the first African and Nigerian woman to receive a doctoral degree. She earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Chicago.

Dr. Josephine Allen

Dr. Josephine Allen earned her Ph.D. in Biological and Biomedical Sciences from the University of Michigan. She is the first Black woman to receive tenure at Cornell University.

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 20:Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College attends META Convened by BET at Milk Studios on June 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)

Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell

Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell is the President of Spelman College and has a Ph.D. in Humanities from Syracuse University. As the executive director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, it became the first accredited Black fine arts museum in the US.

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WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 10: Anthropologist Johnnetta Cole speaks during an event at the Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol September 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) held a ceremony to commemorate “the 400th anniversary of the first-recorded forced arrival of enslaved African people.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Dr. Johnnetta Cole

Dr. Johnnetta Cole has her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Northwestern University and was first Black woman to be President of Spelman College. She has also served as the President of Bennett College.

Dr. Moogega Cooper

Dr. Moogega Cooper has her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University. Cooper works as NASA scientist and Planetary Protection Lead for Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover.

( Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett Photo: YouTube/NIAID)

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett has her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her expertise helped to develop the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

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Dr. Patricia Daley

Dr. Patricia Daley is the first Black person and the first Black woman to be appointed to an academic post at the University of Oxford where she earned her DPhil in Geography.

Dr. Angela Davis

Dr. Angela Davis is a political and civil rights activist, educator, and philosopher and has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She holds her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Humboldt University in East Berlin.

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UNSPECIFIED – MARCH 08: In this screengrab, Dr. Angela Davis attends Women in the Mix during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards on March 08, 2021 (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

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Dr. Sharde Davis

Dr. Sharde Davis has her Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa. She is the Co-creator of the #BlackintheIvory hashtag turned movement bringing awareness to anti-Black racism in academia.

Dr. Lisa Delpit

Dr. Lisa Delpit has her EdD in Curriculum, Instruction, and Research from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ Fellow recognized for her work on school-community relations and cross-cultural communication for public school education.

Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt

Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt has her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University. She is a MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ Fellow recognized for her extensive work on racial bias, particularly the psychological relationship between race and crime.

Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson

Dr. Carol Espy-Wilson is the first Black woman to get a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Barbara Fields

Dr. Barbara Fields is the first Black woman to receive tenure at Columbia University. She has her Ph.D. in American History from Yale University.

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Dr. Timnit Gebru

Dr. Timnit Gebru has her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. She is the Co-founder of Black in AI & a leading advocate for diversity and inclusion in tech.

Dr. Dominiqua Griffin

Dr. Dominiqua Griffin is the co-founder of Black Women PhDs, a platform that highlights the achievements on Black women in academia. She earned her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Evelynn Hammonds

Dr. Evelynn Hammonds is the first Black person and the first woman to serve as Dean of Harvard College. She has her Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard University.

Dr. Joy Harden-Bradford

Dr. Joy Harden-Bradford has her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Georgia. She is the founder of Therapy for Black Girls, a platform, podcast, and online directory of therapists encouraging mental wellness in Black women and girls.

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President Obama Awards National Medals Of Science And Nat'l Medals Of Technology And Innovation
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 19: (L-R) Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, stands with President Barack Obama before receiving the National Medal of Science, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, May 19, 2016, in Washington, DC. Established in 1959, the National Medal of Science recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation, created in 1980, recognizes those who have made contributions to America’s competitiveness, quality of life, and helped strengthen the country’s technological workforce. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson has her Ph.D. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the first Black woman to get a doctorate from MIT.

Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot

Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is a MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellow and first Black woman to have an endowed professorship named in her honor at Harvard University. She holds her Ph.D. in Sociology and Education, from the institution.

Dr. Alondra Nelson

Dr. Alondra Nelson has her Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University. She is the first Black person to serve as President of the Social Science Research Council and Deputy Director for Science and Society for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Annual Meetings Plenary Session
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 15: In this handout provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde (R) joins a panel on Fighting Corruption with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (L) Chair of GAVI and Former Finance Minister, Nigeria during the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings at the IMF Headquarters October 15, 2017. (Photo by Stephen Jaffe/IMF via Getty Images)

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman and first Black person to become the Director-General of the World Trade Organization. She has her Ph.D. in Regional Economics and Development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon has her Ph.D. in History from Howard University. She is a founding member of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Freedom Singers and a Macarthur ‘Genius’ Fellow.

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Dr. Condoleezza Rice

Dr. Condoleezza Rice has her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Denver. She is the first Black woman to serve as US Secretary of State, first woman to serve as National Security Advisor, and first woman, Black person, and youngest person to serve as Stanford Provost.

Dr. Musawenksoi Saurombe

Dr. Musawenksoi Saurombe is the youngest Black woman to receive a Ph.D. She holds her degree in Industrial Psychology from North-West University in South Africa.

Dr. Nashlie Sephus

Dr, Nashlie Sephus has her Ph.D in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She works an AI researcher who has purchased 12 acres of vacant lots and abandoned buildings to create the Jackson Tech District.

Dr. Jacquelyn Serwer

Dr. Jacquelyn Serwer earned her Ph.D. in American Art from City University of New York. She is the Chief curator for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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2010 BET Honors - Arrivals
WASHINGTON – JANUARY 16: Ruth Simmons walks the red carpet before the 2010 BET Honors at the Warner Theatre on January 16, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

Dr. Ruth Simmons

Dr. Ruth Simmons has her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University. She is the first lack woman to lead a major college (as President of Smith College) and first Black president of an Ivy League school (Brown University).

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum is a former President of Spelman College and the author of the acclaimed book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Valerie Thomas

Dr. Valerie Thomas has her Ph.D. in Physics from Morgan State University. Thomas is the inventor of the illusion transmitter, the technology which is used in 3D movies.

Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck

Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck completed her dissertation on Black names in white classroom settings after growing up with white teachers and classmates mocking her name. She has her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University.

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