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Black Woman Makes History as First at UGA to Earn Ph.D. in Physics: ‘I’m an Anomaly, but Don’t Want to Be’

The University of Georgia

The University of Georgia

Whitney Ingram will make history as the first Black woman ever to graduate from The University of Georgia with a doctorate in physics. The 27-year-old student, who also attended the college for her bacholor’s in physics, will earn her degree this December.

According to On Common Ground News, Ingram’s mother urged her to contact her school’s office of outreach and diversity to confirm her distinction. The student admits she initially didn’t believe she was the first African-American woman to obtain a physics Ph.D.

“I think I was thinking too small and making it much smaller than it was, but I’m just doing what I love,” Ingram told OCG News.

The graduate student first became interested in science in elementary school.

“I read a National Geographic article about the sun exploding and engulfing the Earth. Though that event was at least another billion years away, that did terrify me a lot,” she said.

Science has captivated Ingram ever since, as Ingram participated in the Science Olympiad competition in high school.

The graduate student specializes in the field of nanotechnology. It is defined by the United States National Nanotechnology Initiative as the study and application of very small things which can be used in several disciplines of science like physics, chemistry and biology.

According to, OCG the government has invested billions into nanotech research. Ingram currently works on a research team devoted to exploring how nanomotors, can be used to control the direction of a potentially deadly blood clot and give doctors a way to remove those deemed inoperable.

“Being Black is one thing. But women and even Americans are minorities in the field of physics,” she told the website. “I’m basically an anomaly. I’m the first, but I don’t want to be the last. Now that I think about it, I don’t see any black females coming up under me and none of my teachers were Black or even American. I want females to be inspired to do this.”

Ingram has been applying to jobs hoping to enter the workforce after graduation in the winter. Her dream position is with the Department of Defense and she eventually hopes to teach physics at the college level.

“I’m honored to be the first at UGA and I’m so happy that I can reach and inspire others,” she said.

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