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Sat, 01.14.1967

Kimberly Bryant, Electrical Engineer born

Kimberly Bryant

*Kimberly Bryant was born on this date in 1967. She is a Black electrical engineer, expert in the biotechnology field.

Bryant was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee by a single mother amidst the Civil Rights Movement. She self-described as a "nerdy girl," excelling in mathematics and science in school. She earned a scholarship to attend Vanderbilt University in 1985, where she planned to become a civil engineer. Enticed by technologies such as the microchip, the personal computer, and the portable cellphone, she switched her major and earned a degree in Electrical Engineering and minors in Computer Science and math.

Early in her career, Bryant held jobs at the electrical companies Westinghouse Electric and DuPont. Later, Bryant would move to biotechnology and later to pharmaceutical companies, where she worked at Pfizer, Merck, and at Genentech and Novartis. Bryant founded Black Girls Code in 2011 after her daughter expressed an interest in learning computer programming. They are a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing technology and computer programming education to African American girls. After founding Black Girls Code, Bryant was listed as one of the "25 Most Influential African-Americans In Technology" by Business Insider.

Bryant hopes that this endeavor will allow young girls, especially those from minority populations, to remain involved in STEM and increase awareness within the field. Black women make up less than 3% of the workforce in the tech industry and Black Girls Code fights to change and improve this percentage for the better. The organization already has trained 3,000 girls in seven chapters in cities in the United States and has one chapter in Johannesburg, South Africa, with plans to add chapters in eight more cities. In August 2017 Bryant was involved with turning down a $125,000 donation by Uber which she considered "disingenuous". The donation followed allegations of sexual harassment at Uber. In February 2018 Black Girls Code partnered with Uber's competitor Lyft - as Bryant considered their values to be better aligned with her own.

Bryant is a thought leader around inclusion in the field of technology and has spoken on the topic at events such as TedX Kansas City, TedX San Francisco, Platform Summit, Big Ideas Festival, and SXSW. Bryant serves on the National Champions Board for the National Girls Collaborative Project, a charitable organization whose vision is to bring together organizations across the United States that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM. She also serves on the board of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) K-12 Alliance, a group dedicated to creating access to inclusive computing education for girls everywhere. In 2012, Bryant received the Jefferson Award for Community Service for her work to support Bay Area communities with Black Girls Code.

In 2013, Bryant was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for Tech Inclusion. That same year, she was voted one of the 25 Most Influential African Americans in Technology by Business Insider, awarded the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship, and named to The Root 100 and the Ebony Power 100 lists. In 2014, Bryant was the recipient of Smithsonian Magazine's American Ingenuity Award for Social Progress. She also was one of the winners of the POLITICO Women Who Rule Award. In 2019, Bryant was one of 65 finalists across 13 categories to present their projects at the 22nd annual Interactive Innovation Awards presented by KPMG. She was also presented with the SXSW Interactive Festival Hall of Fame award. Bryant was a keynote speaker in 2021 SXSW EDU.

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