Dr. Namandje Bumpus has smashed the roof by becoming the first Black woman to serve as a department chair at infamous Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, according to Because of Them We Can.
With a long road in academia, Bumpus has been posed with hurdles as it has always pitched Black scholars to receive lots of criticism, covert and overt forms of racism when pursuing a career in the sciences. Her career at Johns Hopkins began in 2010, where she worked as an assistant professor before ultimately working her way up to associate professor, and eventually becoming the school’s first associate dean for institutional and student equity.
“It was hard to be as joyful as I should have been because of the emotion that I saw happening in the world. I definitely felt a heaviness,” Bumpus said, according to Because of Them We Can. “What’s happening in the wider world parallels what’s happening in the culture of academic science, not just at Hopkins.”
Although Bumpus continues to deal with an enormous amount of racist emails and tweets, she chooses to channel her frustration elsewhere. She fights against bias by attacking the lack of STEM pipelines into the field of pharmacology, active participation in groundbreaking research that is more inclusive of Black people, and mentoring underrepresented scholars.
Her main goal is to use her work to help usher in even more change for the university.
“Being an African American woman in science, I had not only the glass ceiling but the solitude of often being first. One of the reasons I push and work so hard for these leadership roles is I feel like I need to be there as an advocate, and I need to be there as an example,” she said.
According to Diverse Education, she is also the only Black woman in the U.S. to chair a pharmacology department.
Congratulations on achieving this great feat!