Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
In Melissa Harris-Perry’s 2011 book, Sister Citizen, she references various psychological studies of altered judgment and decision making that can arise in irregularly shaped environments, and uses them to explicate the struggles women of color face at the intersection of race and gender stereotypes. These environments, or “crooked rooms,” represent an unlevel plane where misrecognition or lack of acknowledgment diminishes the contributions of women of color to the success of the nation.
Recognizing the prevalence and conundrum of the crooked room, there are institutions making strides toward changing the way the world looks at African American women leaders, scholars, artists, writers, scientists, and global change agents. One institution in particular has welcomed women of African descent in support of their becoming technically proficient and civically astute. At Spelman College, an institution committed to excellence inside and outside of the classroom, students are provided with the tools needed to cultivate the character, confidence, and intellectual curiosity that will not only shape and define them, but also enable them to think both broadly and deeply as they address some of the world’s most complex problems.
As is typical of the legacy of most historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Spelman has a rich tradition of assisting students in finding the wherewithal to assume an upward trajectory as they navigate a proverbial room that is made crooked by negative stereotypes. Founded in 1881 and grounded in its mission to empower and inspire commitment to positive social change in African American women, Spelman enrolls approximately 2,100 students from forty-four states, one territory, and eleven countries and offers a robust, challenging liberal arts curriculum with twenty-seven academic programs. Notably, Spelman College is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a highly selective and highly competitive Baccalaureate I institution and serves as host to a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. It is also one of six Model Institutions of Excellence, as designated by the National Science Foundation, for its achievements in undergraduate science and mathematics education; Spelman ranks second among all institutions from which black science and engineering doctorate recipients earn bachelor’s degrees (National Science Foundation 2013).
Jackson, Kimberly M. and Winfield, Leyte L., "Realigning the Crooked Room: Spelman Claims a Space for African American Women in STEM" (2014). Spelman College Faculty Publications. 2.
Peer Review : Emerging Trends and Key Debates in Undergraduate Education