A few words
It all started because we were hungry!
First PhowarD Brunch
What we couldn’t have known is how expansive this effort would become.
Science Night at First Baptist
Our first outreach event as PhorwarD and Black!
Sikoya and Martha combine their knowledge of nonprofits to bring PhorwarD and Black to life!
PhorwarD and Black becomes an incorporated nonprofity by the state of North Carolina
Phorward, Inc. 501(c)(3)
PhorwarD and Black becomes a federally tax-exempt nonprofit organization
Debra Ragland, PhDFOUNDER, Executive Member
Debra is a program director at Duke University. She completed her PhD at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School in computational biology. Debra is an HBCU alumna, completing her bachelor’s degree at NCA&TSU. She is passionate about the success of graduate students of color and their overall well-being. She is a mother who likes to travel and do civic engagement with her little one. For PhorwarD, Debra is the chair of communications.
Martha Johnson, PhDFOUNDER, Executive Member
Martha is a postdoctoral scholar at UNC Chapel Hill. She completed her PhD in bioanalytical chemistry at Old Dominion University. Martha is an HBCU alumna, completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry at Jackson State University. Martha is passionate about delving into the science and biology of diseases and other societal factors that disproportionately impact communities of color. Martha enjoys social outings and hosting game nights. For PhorwarD, Martha is the chair of outreach.
Sikoya Ashburn, PhDFOUNDER, Executive Member
Sikoya is a postdoctoral fellow at UNC Chapel Hill. She completed her B.S. in Neuroscience at Duke University and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience at Georgetown University. As a co-founder and the career and professional development chair for PhorwarD, Sikoya aims to foster spaces and create resources for women of color in STEM to thrive. Outside of research she teaches neuroanatomy at UNC, is a science outreach enthusiast, and enjoys mentoring young women exploring STEM-related fields.
PhorwarD and Black is a collective of professional women of color who hold doctorate degrees in various STEM fields with one goal in mind: to mentor the next generation of doctorate degree-seeking women of color as they transition to the next phases of their careers. The mission of PhorwarD and Black is to provide professional degree-seeking women from disadvantaged backgrounds in the research triangle area with the mentorship, a network, and resources needed to fully prepare for the transition to careers beyond the bench. Through PhorwarD members will participate in a series of community-based, networking, and professional development events in an effort to increase their probability of obtaining a fulfilling position in the career of their choice.