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Thursday, July 18, 2024

30-year-old Lady sets record at US university, becomes first African-American woman to earn PhD in Computer Science

A 30-year-old lady named Amber Johnson has made history as the first African-American woman to earn a Doctorate degree in Computer Science at Purdue University, Indiana in the United States.

Amber Johnson made history by becoming the first-ever African-American woman to earn a doctorate degree in Computer Science at Purdue University, Indiana in the United States. United States.

She said she identified her love of computers early, receiving her first computer at just 4 years old. Amber said she learned to code early as well, using a Microsoft Disk Operating System (MDOS).

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When she was younger, she used to program calculators and even tried to fix her Nintendo 64 when it wasn’t working properly.  “I’ve always been really into gadgets, figuring things out, taking things apart. I was self-taught,” she said.

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Amber obtained her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from LeMoyne Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee. She proceeded to earn her master’s degree at Jackson State in Mississippi.

She said transitioning from an HBCU to Purdue University was a shift that Johnson had to learn to navigate. “Coming to Purdue, I had to learn to understand the community around me, learning to understand the community,” Amber told The Exponent.

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”Black students are in a space that was not intentionally created for them but extended to them. It needs to be filled with mentors and peers,” she added.


While at the university, she became an instructor for Girls Who Code and Black Girls Rock Tech. She was also an active member of the Black Graduate Students Organization, a community offering help and support for Black graduate students on campus.

Talking about how she felt to be the first African American woman at the University to become a doctor in her field of study, Amber said she is glad to have made history in the male-dominated field.

“Publicity is publicity. I don’t look like the stereotypical computer scientist. You won’t find many Black women in this academic space. This is what computer science can look like,” she said.

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Amber said she will be starting her career as a software engineer at Northrop Grumman, one of the United States’ leading companies in aerospace and defense technology.

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