Diversity in higher education has always been a social issue within the United States when it comes to who gets access to the country’s most elite schools. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is considered one of the most elite schools in the country and around the world. This week it made history by electing its first black student body president.
What We Know:
- Sophomore Danielle Geathers is a college sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, but she is already making school history after her recent win in the school elections for student body president. Geathers’ win makes her the first black woman to lead the undergraduate association. Her running mate, Yu Jing Chen, represents a population in the school that often goes overlooked.
- She makes history as the first black woman to lead the student body as president at MIT since the school was founded on April 10, 1861. Speaking to the institute’s paper Geathers said she is hopeful that the latest history in the school will defeat perceptions that the school is still mostly white, and male dominated.
“Someone asked if the UA president was a figurehead role during the debate. I think no but minimally a Black female in that role will squash every perception that MIT is still mostly white and male. Minimally, the immediate image of that will make MIT a more welcoming and inclusive place.” – Danielle Geathers
Major congratulations to Danielle Geathers, the first black woman in the history of MIT to be elected UA president! pic.twitter.com/T85cokFKaI
— MIT Gender Studies (@MITWGS) May 11, 2020
- According to The Tech, 5% of the undergraduate population voted in the election compared to just 14.4% in last year’s election and 18.3% in the 2018 election.
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We are beyond excited to be elected as your next Undergraduate Association President and Vice President! A major thank you to all of you who supported us every step of the way of this journey. We could not have gotten this far without the communities that rallied behind us. Thank you for believing in us. We are incredibly grateful and cannot wait for what is to come. @fionayara2020 there are no words to capture how much you have inspired us and together, we achieved the highest voter turnout in recent MIT history (38.5%!!!), we are excited for the future of MIT!
- Geathers is also the founder of Talented Ten, a program she introduced before running for the position. Talented Ten focuses on increasing application and enrollment among black women at MIT by pairing high school juniors with current students.
Congratulations Danielle! We are rooting for your success!