Gov. Cooper Recognizes Simpson as One of NC’s African American STEM Leaders
Jamila Simpson, assistant dean for inclusive excellence in the College of Sciences, was recognized by Gov. Roy Cooper on Feb. 8 as one of North Carolina’s African American STEM leaders.
“North Carolina is a stronger state thanks to the contributions of many talented Black leaders, including those who work in STEM fields and who deserve recognition,” said Cooper. “As we celebrate their achievements, we must also work to break down barriers and recruit the next generation of leaders by ensuring everyone has access to a sound, basic education.”
For much of her career, Simpson has been working on student diversity initiatives. In her previous role as assistant dean for academic programs, she boosted the recruitment, retention and graduation of students that are traditionally underrepresented in the sciences. She has also led the development of inclusive spaces for diverse populations in science fields through initiatives such as the Diversity in STEM Symposium.
Simpson is deeply rooted in NC State’s diversity, equity and inclusion history. She was the first African American woman to earn a bachelor’s in meteorology from NC State. She also received a master’s and doctorate degree in science education from NC State. In December 2021, she became the college’s first assistant dean for inclusive excellence.
The list of honorees includes at least three other NC State alums: the late retired Air Force Lt. Col. Tony L. Mitchell, who was an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and assistant dean emeritus in the College of Engineering; graduate student and urban ecologist Deja Perkins; and Alicia Nicki Washington, professor of the practice of computer science at Duke University.
The NC African American Heritage Commission, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, recognized the honorees in partnership with Cooper.