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Ebony O. McGee

Professor of Education, Diversity and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) Education, Department of Teaching and Learning

As a professor of diversity and STEM education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, I investigate what it means to be racially marginalized while minoritized in the context of learning and achieving in STEM higher education and in the STEM professions. I study in particular the racialized structures and institutional barriers that adversely affect the education and career trajectories of underrepresented groups of color, particularly focusing on STEM entrepreneurship. This involves exploring the socialmaterial, and health costs of academic achievement and problematizing traditional forms of success in higher education, with an unapologetic focus on Black folx in these places and spaces. My National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant investigates how marginalization undercuts success in STEM through psychological stress, interrupted STEM career trajectories, impostor phenomenon, and other debilitating race-related trauma for Asian, Black, Indigenous, and Latinx doctoral students.

Education is my second career; I left a career in electrical engineering to earn a PhD in mathematics education from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Chicago, and a NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern University. With funding from eleven NSF grants, I cofounded and direct the Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative or EDEFI (pronounced “edify”). I also cofounded the Institute in Critical Quantitative and Mixed Methodologies Training for Underrepresented Scholars (ICQCM), which aims to be a go-to resource for the development of quantitative and mixed-methods skillsets that challenge simplistic quantifications of race and marginalization. ICQCM receives support from the NSF, The Spencer Foundation, and the W. T. Grant Foundation.

My latest research explores the relationship between STEM innovation and entrepreneurship, whose infrastructure requires enhancements to support a more diverse population of founders and business owners in STEM. I am part of the research team for National GEM Consortium’s Inclusion in Innovation Initiative (i4), which is a $3.5 million cooperative partnership with the NSF to develop a national diversity and inclusion infrastructure for the Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Program. This program supports academic researchers in launching successful tech startups through entrepreneurial training, particularly translating their research discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace.

My first solo-authored book is entitled Black, Brown, Bruised: How Racialized STEM Education Stifles Innovation,-brown,-bruised#

Teacher’s College Record Book Review:

University World News Book Review:

Science Education Review:

Chemistry World Review:

Book Finalist in the Social Sciences: Education Practice and Theory category, The Association of American Publishers 2022 PROSE Awards

My research has been featured in prominent media outlets, including The Atlantic, Science, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Nature Human Behaviour and Cancer, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Higher Education Today, NPR’s Codeswitch, The Hechinger Report, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, US News & World Report, Inside Higher Education, Tennessean, Washington Monthly, and The UK Voice Online.

Visit the EDEFI website at

Visit the ICQCM website at

LinkedIn Page:

Twitter handle: @Relationshipgap