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Ebony O. McGee

Associate Professor of Education, Diversity and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Education, Department of Teaching and Learning

Ebony McGee, associate professor of diversity and STEM education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, investigates what it means to be racially marginalized in the context of learning and achieving in STEM. In particular, she studies the racialized experiences and racial stereotypes affecting the education and career trajectories of underrepresented groups of color by exploring the costs of academic achievement and problematizing traditional forms of success in higher education. McGee’s 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 Black, Indigenous, and Latinx doctoral students.

Education is McGee’s second career; she left a career in electrical engineering to earn a PhD in mathematics education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. With funding from six National Science Foundation (NSF) grants, McGee co-founded the Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative (EDEFI; pronounced “edify”). Visit EDEFI’s website at

Research Interests

  • Racialized biases and stereotypes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields for high-achieving marginalized students (Black, Latinx, and Asian)
  • Career trajectories and postsecondary pursuits that funnel STEM graduates of color into and out of STEM fields
  • Resiliency, wellness, and mental health outcomes for high-achieving minoritized students and their identity development (racial, mathematical, ethnic, and gender)
  • Investigations of the social, cultural, and structural barriers that have made the number of African American and Women of Color engineering faculty stagnate

Recently Published

Diversifying STEM 

The lack of diversity in the STEM academic and industry workforce (i.e., in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and disability status in disciplines that train students to participate in the STEM workforce) requires researchers who specialize in racism, sexism, and other forms of bias to be part of the discussion and search for solutions. Research on diversity in STEM frequently neglects how race and gender intersect within the complex structural dynamics of STEM. Much more often, such research has focused solely on gendered experiences within STEM, thus ignoring the experiences of many students who are affected through both race and gender. Our edited volume, Diversifying STEM: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Race and Gender, serves as an extended discussion of the foundational concepts of our research group, the Explorations in Diversifying Engineering Faculty Initiative (EDEFI; pronounced “edify”). The authors who contributed to this edited volume address the topical void in the literature by using research expertise from multiple disciplines of STEM education. Their scholarship includes race, culture, and social stratification; social justice in education; the affirmative personal and academic development of Black men and boys; mathematical and racial identity; racial socialization processes; and race and gender intersectionality. The voices of these multidisciplinary scholars offer a wide array of perspectives. Our hopes are that this volume will allow practitioners, teachers, students, faculty, and professionals to reimagine STEM across a variety of educational paradigms, perspectives, and disciplines, which is critical to finding solutions that broaden the participation of historically underrepresented groups within the STEM disciplines. 

Learn more here.