This Black Woman Made History As First to Graduate From USF’s Doctoral Program

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the health crisis has been particularly hard on students trying to continue their education. Despite this, many have continued on and have managed to obtain their degrees. One Black woman managed not only to get her doctoral degree but made history in the process.

Dr. Shamaria Engram graduated in December 2020 with a doctorate degree from the University of South Florida’s Computer Science and Engineering doctoral program. She became the first Black woman to graduate from the program since it was established in the early 1980s. She attended the university after graduating from Bethune Cookman University, a historically Black college based in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Engram says while there were moments that proved challenging as being the only Black woman in many of these rooms, she was determined to finish and obtain her degree to pursue the career of her dreams.

“That motivated me to keep on pushing. I can’t be the first one and stop. The Ph.D. is hard and with me being the only Black woman in this department, you don’t have a lot of people to talk to about your research that get you culturally,” she said in an interview with WFLA.

“I think it makes me work harder to get more people into this field that look like me because it’s definitely uncomfortable at this time.”