I am very late with Ada Lovelace's Day blogging, again. There are plenty of great mathematically minded women whom we should be celebrating, but since this year I've missed the Infinite Posssibilities Conference, I thought I'd go for a woman of colour.
I feel very honoured to have been their keynote speaker in 2012 and I reckon that they're absolutely right: "African-American, Hispanic/Latina, and American Indian women have been historically underrepresented in mathematics. In 2002, less than 1% of the doctoral degrees in the mathematical sciences were awarded to American women from underrepresented minority groups." This is very wrong.
So I decided to go for Nyedja Nascimento, first professor of Agronomy in the state of Paraiba, Brazil.
born in Nov 1925, about to complete 90 years, Nyedja was the first woman to graduate from a college in Paraiba in 1949. Poor, black and a woman, at a time when only rich men would go to college, Nyedja had to face all kinds of obstacles. Vivek Nigam sent me this story about her. She also made history being the first female professor of the same institution, the School of Agronomy, which was the first university college of the state, created in 1936. The rest of the Universidade Federal da Paraiba would only start in 1955.