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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Young woman breaks record at US University, emerges first-ever black woman to graduate with Astronomy Physics degree

A young woman named Miona Shorts has made history as the first-ever black woman to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy Physics at the University of Wisconsin Madison in the United States.

Miona Short bagged a Bachelor of Science degree in Astrophysics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She not only set a record as the first-ever Astrophysics graduate of the university, but she is also the second black woman to graduate in the university’s history.

She said she felt very overwhelmed to achieve the feat as she never expected it adding that she found out in her first year when someone told her, though she did not believe it until she did research about other black women who finished in the university. 

“Timing is everything and I had no idea until I started looking up the history of some of the first Black students at the university, when I saw that the first Black woman graduated exactly 100 years ago, it sent a shiver up my spine,’’ she said.

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‘’It’s just one of those things that bring tears to your eyes. The numerical alignment is so beautiful but the fact that it would take 100 years is very telling of the culture in the United States,’’ she added.

Miona said she had dreams of traveling among the stars ever since she was a young girl growing up on the South Side of Chicago and she is glad her degree is bringing her much closer to achieving her goals of one day exploring the planets, stars, and everything in between.

She recalled the moment she wanted to be an astronomer, telling her mother when she was two years old that she wanted to go to the moon after she saw a Kraft cheese commercial on TV that featured a cow jumping over the moon.

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Miona said her mother told her she would have to become an astronaut first, it was then she took up the challenge and never once doubted herself.

“I said, ‘OK, cool. That’s going to happen, that evolved into wanting to study the stars. I think some things get written in our book of life early on. I’ve had this passion for all of science, particularly for astronomy and astrophysics,” Miona recalled.

“It kind of makes me want to cry just to think how embedded this love is and how ingrained it is and always has been,” she added.

Miona said she has a positive view about her future, mentioning that she spent some time at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI), where she met her all-time hero and famous Astrophysicist, Neil De Grasse Tyson.

“My cohort brother Deshawn McKinney bought me that ticket, including a meet-and-greet with him afterward. I was really fortunate to be able to meet this rock star in my world,” she said.

Miona’s dreams also got a big boost when she, along with Hiwot Adilow of Philadelphia, became the first recipients of the First Wave/MC Lyte Scholarship as high school seniors back in November 2012.

The MC Lyte Scholarship is a four-year, full-tuition scholarship that is a tribute to the quality of student artists who prepare for college while developing their artistic potential.

Miona said she also had dreams of launching her own hair care and beauty brand called “Shukrah.” Which she would flag off with a comb that can detangle or condition the hair in bits.

“I am coming up with a whole line of products. Shukrah is a hair tool company right now and we are probably going to move into the beauty space later, Miona said. “Our flagship product is a comb that will make it easier to de-tangle and shampoo or condition the hair in fewer steps,’’ she added.

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