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Miona Short is the First African-American Woman to Earn ‘BSc in Astrophysics’ at University of Wisconsin-Madison

There is a saying that goes, hard-work pays and indeed that is a testimony that Miona Short can give. She has given the women of color another reason to be hopeful despite the much diversity that the African American community has been facing. Short graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as the first African-American woman to earn a bachelor of science in Astrophysics.

The representation of black women in STEM related studies and professions has been a major concern lately; with more and more girls dropping out of these classes. There have been several institutions that have launched programs to help in encouraging girls of color to take and enjoy the science related studies. Statistics show the dire need to do more to ensure that girls are represented in STEM. It may be a journey but stories such as the one of Short makes it possible to imagine a time when more and more women will embrace STEM without hesitation.

Like it is expected, the journey to success is never easy or smooth. Remaining determined even in the face of adversities makes you an over-comer and offers you a chance in a situation that would otherwise be unaccommodating. Short expressed her gratitude towards the process that has seen her make history. She posted in her Facebook page writing, “There was a LOT of: late nights, early mornings, tears, second guessing myself, prayers, working hard, working harder than I thought I could, bombing, learning from my failures, learning to be gentle with me, finding Venus in the night sky, memorizing equations, quoting Einstein to myself, writing on windows, silence when there should’ve been noise, reflection, rejection, bad physics jokes, poetry, good physics jokes, perfecting the subtle calligraphy of the Greek letter psi, getting lost in the numbers, and finding myself again. Thank you everybody for the lessons I’ve gathered in the past 5 years. Madison was a true test, but I certainly needed to be right there. I have the best family and friends and overall support system in the world. My blessings abound and abound and abound some more.”

Short has had her dream come true as it has always been her dream since childhood to learn about the stars and the moon. Her love for astronomy later became her interest and passion for astrophysics. Astrophysics has become a passion and a fulfilling endeavor seen even in her Facebook page, where her profile picture is a selfie with her idol astrophysicist Neil De Grasse Tyson. She is also interested in having the opportunity to launch her own hair care line and join the family of entrepreneurs. In her post she hinted the desire to become self-employed, she posted, “I learn that I am the first Black woman to get a BS in Astro-physics. I am grateful, tired and ready for the next adventure (founding a company!)”

There is need for more women to understand that they have great potential to do great in STEM and even more to make a huge change in the society.

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