It’s been a long week, so let’s just get down to business, shall we? Here is this week’s fabulous news about black women!

Kyla McMullen becomes the first black woman to graduate with a PhD in computer science from the University of Michigan. Black excellence continues. McMullen describes her achievement as “bittersweet.” While it feels great to graduate with her Ph.D., she feels her place in history as the first woman to graduate with a Ph.D. from Michigan in Computer Science speaks to the lack of opportunities for women and minorities in STEM sectors. Spurred by her love of gadgets, Kyla hopes to inspire other young people to consider STEM careers. Congrats!  {UMBC}

Nollywood Actress Stephanie Okereke-Linus helps victims of vesico vaginal fistula (VVF).  A-list actress Stephanie Okereke-Linus’s new film, ‘Dry’ aims to help victims of VVF by raising funds for to pay for surgery and rehabilitation. VVF  is a condition involving “holes resulting from a breakdown between the vaginal wall and the bladder or rectum, usually caused by days of a baby struggling to fit through the birth canal,” and Okereke-Linus hopes to help women who suffer from it.  One of Africa’s hottest actresses, Okereke-Linus has starred in more than 100 films and won numerous awards. Along with continuing to be one of the biggest actresses in Nollywood, she’s also a humanitarian and aims to use her platform to give back. Kudos to her. {Shadow & Act}

New game, HERadventure, featuring a b lack female superhero is coming to a platform near you. Created by filmmaker and digital media artist Ayoka Chenzira, Ph.D, the National Endowment for the Arts recently funded HERadventure, a social issues game featuring a black female heroine. Here’s how the magazine Inside Spelman describes the game: “The backstory of HERadventure begins when HER, a warrior woman and inhabitant of Earth’s sister planet, comes to Earth to investigate why it is causing her native planet to freeze and slowly die. HER discovers that the auras of Earth’s women are diminishing. Consequently, Earth and other parts of the universe are negatively impacted. HER enlists a corps of “superheroes in training” (HERadventure users) to take meaningful action and offer solutions to issues such as negative self-esteem, discrimination, eating disorders, and depression, which are causing women’s auras to suffer. These issues are dealt with through visual metaphors in a 3-D environment. HERadventure users “teleport” through various levels of the gaming experience by using social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, with a goal of helping the superhero save her planet and ultimately serve as catalysts for positive change in the virtual and real world.” Nice! {The Mary Sue}

Myrlie Evers-Williams to deliver invocation at President Obama’s inauguration. Looks like Pres. Obama’s inauguration will be a serious ode to the civil rights movement. Not only is his public swearing-in taking place on Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday and using Dr. King’s Bible, slain civil rights hero Medgar Evans’ widow, Myrlie Evers-Williams, will kick off the ceremony with prayer. According to the Washington Post, this may be the first time a woman, and a layperson, will give the public prayer. According to the inaugural committee, Williams’ career “reflect the ideals that the Vice President and I continue to pursue for all Americans – justice, equality and opportunity.” {Washington Post}

Essence magazine to honor Lianne La Havas and Solange Knowles. 2012 was a great year for quirky talent. Janelle Monáe and Azealia Banks inked deals with major brands, and British singer Lianne La Havas and Houston’s own Solange Knowles had the industry talking. To honor their talent, La Havas and Knowles will be celebrated at Essence’s annual Women In Music event. In February. The folks over at Essence explained why they chose the up-and-coming singers in a press release: “We look forward to recognizing the incredible gifts of Lianne La Havas and Solange Knowles , who are each making their own inimitable mark on the industry and around the world.” Yay for quirky black women!  {PR Newswire}

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  • PleaseDon’tStop

    While these type of post don’t get as many replies as the ones about IR, I hope that you and your staff never become discouraged and stop posting them. It is great to hear that sisters are doing their thing.

  • Nakia

    I love the Friday 5 and have been introduced to some women I need to be aware of… Thanks.