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by vivrant thang on sisters doing it for themselves and young gifted & black

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The “inferior sex” got a new exterior
We got doctors, lawyers, politicians too.
Everybody – take a look around.
Can you see – can you see – can you see
There’s a woman right next to you!
Sisters are doing it for themselves!

I bet you were worried I was going to do the whole post in pink and green huh? Don’t trip. You know it’s lovely.

On this date 100 years ago, my beloved sorority was founded on the campus of Howard University by a group of extraordinary women, many of them educators. So it is only fitting that I highlight one of my sorority sisters who is following in the footsteps of our beloved founders.

I was so proud to visit one of the blogs I highly respect, What About Our Daughters, and see Calandra featured as part of the “You Oughta Know” series, which focuses on inspirational and positive portrayals of black women who are doing it for themselves. It just so happens that Calandra is my former chapter soror and we were in grad school at University of Maryland during the same time. I finished my MA in English in 2001 and she was on the Ph.D. track. We also lived in the same apartment complex for a while. When I met her and learned that she was working towards her doctorate in math, I was beyond impressed.

See, I am so right-brained, I can’t fathom getting a doctorate in any left-brained oriented field. It blows my mind. However, to see a woman…a black woman… not only getting an advanced degree in that field, but also having a passion for it and wanting to share that with others really garnered my admiration. I can’t remember having any black male or female math or science teachers in school. I’m just glad to know that if my child should develop an affinity for math or science (must gonna come from her daddy’s side of the family), she’ll have another black woman to look up to. That pool is very small.

From What About Our Daughters:

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Dr. Calandra Tate, Ph.D. graduated from Xavier University and went on to earn her doctorate in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland in College Park this month (December 2007 – the same month she turned 30). With her achievement Dr. Tate joins a distinguished and small group of Black women. According to The National Science Foundation 4,300 doctorates in mathematics and statistics were awarded in the 8 years between 1998-2005, only 48 were earned by African-American women.

She teaches statistics and probability at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) through a special assignment with her employer, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Aldelphi, Md. It is at the research lab where she thought of her dissertation topic – “An Investigation of the Relationship Between Automated Machine Translation Evaluation Metrics and User Performance on an Information Extraction Task”. (wow!)

Tate started her freshman year at Xavier University pre-med but before the year’s end switched to mathematics. At the same time she was wooed by the language department to become a French major. She studied French since grade school and was an exchange student in France between her junior and senior years of high school.
While at Xavier, Tate was active in student government and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Her senior year, she received two coveted Xavier awards: the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award for community service and the Mother Agatha Ryan Award for exemplifying the spirit and standards of the school through “reverence, personal integrity, loyalty, service and scholarship.”

Read more about Dr. Tate. I’m so thrilled to be able to call her “Dr.” and even prouder to call her my Soror. As I asked on my last related post, what are you doing with your life?

Happy Centennial Founders Day to each and every beautiful member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. I am truly proud to be a part of this sisterhood.

I’d also like to say rest in peace to Soror Donda West. Even though there were times you may have felt unpretty, you will always be beautiful to your Sorors.

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