Things That Matter

MIT Just Announced Their First Black Woman Student Body President

As a Massachusetts Institute of Technology undergrad, Danielle Geathers has already accomplished so much. And yet, recently she accomplished a feat that is making history. When the college student returns back to her classes at MIT this fall, she will be the first in the school’s 159- year history to do so as a Black female student body president.

Geathers, who is 22 years old, was recently elected by her student body as the president of the Undergraduate Association.

She will take up the torch as president alongside her running mate Yu Jing Chen. Speaking to MIT’s student newspaper The Tech, Geathers explained that it “didn’t surprise me that no black women had been president… 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.”

Geathers, who is a major in mechanical engineering with a concentration in product design is also working on a minor in African and American diaspora studies.

Last year, Geathers served as the United Association’s diversity officer. Speaking about her initial efforts to run for president, Geathers said that she felt quite a bit of doubt and uncertainty about running. “Who am I to be president?” Geathers told The Tech about her mindset at the time. Fortunately, Geathers decided to run, “I talked to a couple of people who said, ‘That is the problem with America.’ People who care about equity never want to run for the main role because they think they’re not for it.”

Speaking about why her race and the one of her running mate had an important role in her campaign, Geathers said “We try to ignore the communities that people are from, but that’s what’s gonna make them good.”

It’s important to note that 6% of MIT’s undergraduate students are Black, and only 47% are women.

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