February 24, 2017
The National Society of Black Physicists honors Dr. Jedediah Isler.
Jedidah Isler developed an interest in astronomy at the age of 12. She studied physics at Norfolk State University where she earned a BS degree, graduating with honors. She then went on be one of the first three student members of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master's-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program, a program designed to increase the number of women and under-represented minorities with advanced STEM degrees. She earned an M.A. in Physics from Fisk University.
From there, she went to Yale University where she studied the physics of particle jets emanating from black holes at the centers of distant galaxies called blazars. She became the first African American woman to earn a PhD in AstroPhysics from Yale University.
Dr. Isler is currently a National Science Foundation Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at Vanderbilt University. She was recognized as a 2015 TED Fellow for her astrophysical research and innovative efforts to inspire a new generation of STEM leaders from underrepresented backgrounds. She has been invited to Astronomy Night at the White House and featured in various publications including Wired, Diversity in Action, Ebony, NPR:CodeSwitch, and The Crisis Magazine. Her writing has appeared in Ebony and the New York Times.
Dr. Isler works with schools, museums, libraries, and nonprofit organizations across the country to advance the cause of truly inclusive STEM engagement and has established herself as a champion of access and empowerment in STEM education from middle school and beyond. She established Vanguard: Conversations with Women of Color in STEM (vanguardstem.com) which is a live, monthly web-series featuring a rotating panel of women of color in STEM discussing a wide variety of topics including their research interests, wisdom, advice, tips, tricks and current events (among many other things!).