In honor of Black History Month, women representing top talent in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields are getting the honor they deserve! Get the full story from the release below.

This Black History Month and ahead of this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, EBONY Media, in partnership with OLAY, announce the release of a special, limited edition EBONY commemorative print issue, featuring the winners of its longest-running editorial franchise – the reimagined HBCU Queens – as the cover stars. With a new focus on STEM this year, the popular initiative is dedicated to recognizing collegiate Black women who are poised to affect significant societal change – both locally and globally. This commemorative issue is slated for release on February 11 and will be available at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide, as well as select HBCU bookstores and newsstands. 

EBONY’S HBCU x OLAY STEM Queens is an 88 page celebration of leading women in science, technology, engineering, and math, complete with stunning visuals and portraits of the 10 winners, as well as in-depth profiles on each Queen. The issue will include: 

  • A retrospective on the unsung Black female inventors who changed history
  • A piece on the top STEM programs at HBCUs
  • Features on women of color in STEM at P&G, as well as Black P&G beauty executives
  • An inside look at the Black tech scene in Atlanta
  • An exclusive letter to the next generation of STEM leaders from COVID-19 vaccine developer and Power 100 honoree Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

Women in STEM have changed the world, influenced nations, and made groundbreaking discoveries throughout history. That said, women make up a mere 27% of professionals in the STEM field and that number is even lower for Black women (U.S. Census). More than half of girls count themselves out of STEM careers by the time they reach college due to lack of mentorship and role models, and believe jobs in STEM are not ‘for them.’ By recognizing the HBCU STEM Queens and women of color in STEM at P&G in this commemorative issue, EBONY and OLAY hope to provide young girls with role models who look like them so they can overcome limitations and pursue careers in STEM.

Since its inception in 1975, EBONY has recognized young Black women leaders at HBCUs across the country. In this latest iteration of the popular program, the winners were crowned following a nationwide online competition that allowed users to vote for their favorite contestants. In addition to landing the cover of EBONY,  the winning Queens received an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles for EBONY’s star-studded Power 100 awards ceremony held in October 2021, inclusive of a full makeover and photoshoot. OLAY also awarded each young woman a $10K grant and a mentorship opportunity with female scientists at OLAY. 

“HBCU Queens has always been and will continue to be a cornerstone of the EBONY family. It was our honor to reintroduce the HBCU Queens program for young Black women who are pursuing an education in STEM. With STEM being such an integral part of shaping our current and future world, it is imperative that we create opportunities for our young Black women to be able to excel in that field.  OLAY  – which has done incredible work in STEM – was the perfect partner to bring this program to life. Together we are committed to amplifying these accomplished, beautiful young Black women and they will be featured on our first EBONY cover in  over three years. This special commemorative print issue is such a monumental and priceless moment for us and it is only the beginning of this important HBCU franchise.” —  

Michele Ghee, CEO of EBONY & JET

“OLAY believes that women and girls of all backgrounds have the power to Face Anything. That’s why we’re committed to facing the STEM gap. We’re thrilled to work with EBONY to continue to push our STEM initiative forward. This partnership allows us to celebrate and amplify Black voices, and continue to diversify the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. This partnership brings us one step closer to achieving our goal of tripling the number of women of color in STEM fields by 2030.” —  Stephanie Headley, Vice President, Olay, P&G

The 2021-2022 EBONY HBCU STEM Queens are:

Nadine Abazie  – Howard University

Jamirra Franklin – Spelman College

Shia Gourdet – Fort Valley State University

Raelyn Henderson – Southern University and A&M College

Taylor Johnson – Grambling State University

Destney Johnson – Grambling State University

Kirsten McGowan – Xavier University

Esther Nwozo -Howard University

Alexis Vanzandt – Prairie View A&M University

Alena Wicker – Oakwood University