2021 Speakers

Dr. Ebony McGee

As an associate 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 experiences and racial stereotypes that adversely affect the education and career trajectories of underrepresented groups of color. This involves exploring the social, material, and health costs of academic achievement and problematizing traditional forms of success in higher education, with an unapologetic focus on Black folk 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 National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at Northwestern University. With funding from six NSF grants, I cofounded 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 first solo-authored book is entitled: Black, Brown, Bruised: How Racialized STEM Education Stifles Innovation is available now.

My research has been featured in prominent media outlets, including The Atlantic, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 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.

Visit the ICQCM website.

Dr. Marian Croak

Marian Croak is the Vice President of Site Reliability Engineering for Ads, Corporate Engineering and YouTube, at Google, Inc. Marian joined Google in late 2014 after retiring from AT&T as an SVP responsible for advanced research and innovation, and designing and developing one of the world's largest wireless and broadband networks. She managed over 2,000 world class engineers and computer scientists. Marian holds over 200 patents mostly focused on IP technology. Marian has received numerous awards, including the 2013 and 2014 Edison Patent Awards, was inducted into the Women in Technology International's Hall of Fame in 2013. She is a strong supporter of STEM initiatives, served on many boards including NACME and Catalyst, and personally mentors many individuals in STEM. Marian attended Princeton University, and the University of Southern California where she received her doctorate in quantitative analysis. She is currently a member of the Corporate Advisory Board for the University of Southern California.