Engineer from Trinidad and Tobago is featured in historic book highlighting women leaders

News > The Caribbean

   Nathan Redhead | Posted on May 29, 2020

History-making engineer, Dr. Malika Grayson, has been chosen as 1 of 27 Cornell University alumnae to be featured in “Wall of Wonder: Cornell Women Leading the Way in Science, Technology and Engineering,” a book highlighting woman within the US-based university’s alumni community.   

Among several other accolades, Dr. Grayson is the second black woman to earn a PhD in mechanical engineering at Cornell, which is arguably one of the top universities in the world.  

The Cornell alumna shares the humble heritage of being raised on the sister islands of Trinidad and Tobago. She attended Adelphi University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in physics in 2011 and then went on to earn her master’s and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering at Cornell University in 2014 and 2016, respectively. 

After deciding to pursue mechanical engineering at the graduate level, Dr. Grayson applied to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Georgia Tech, and, of course, Cornell. All four universities accepted her. However, she decided to choose Cornell after meeting the late Professor Ephrahim Garcia in 2011 when she visited the university.   

Her research at Cornell focused on building morphology in urban areas for wind energy generation. It was that very study which earned her the record-breaking PhD in mechanical engineering making her the 2nd black woman in the university’s 155-year history to accomplish such a feat.  

Some of Dr. Grayson’s other achievements include receiving the Zellman Warhaft award for her commitment to diversity in May of 2015, and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Mike Shin award, for distinguished member of the year in March of 2015. In February 2018, she was named one of the Modern Day Technology Leaders at the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) STEM conference and most recently she was named as one of the 40 under 40 Influencers by Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs for her work in STEM.  

“I am truly honored to be featured,” Dr. Grayson shared in an Instagram post, celebrating the new and exciting accomplishment as 1 of the 27 inspiring Cornell alumnae being featured in the book expected to be published in June this year. 

According to a news release published on Cornell’s website, the book was co-authored by two co-presidents and a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) chapter at Cornell, who were motivated by Forbes “America’s Innovative Leaders” top 100 list published last year. There was only one woman on the list. As a result, the co-authors decided to write the book to increase the visibility of women leaders, as well as showcase and celebrate their accomplishments in science and technology, including some of those who inspired the co-authors. Proceeds from the book sales will be used for SWE’s K-12 outreach programs.

Dr. Grayson surely is a great addition to the book. Her numerous achievements and works serve to inspire women everywhere, currently studying STEM and hoping to earn their stripes. For minority women interested in pursuing graduate studies, she has created the Black Girls Guide To Grad School platform, where they can get help and support including personal statement revisions, and even direct one on one mentorship.  

Currently, Dr. Grayson works as an Application Portfolio Manager at Northrop Grumman, and is the Chair of the “African-American Task Group” Employee Resource Group. She is also the College-Initiative Ambassador for George Mason University for the NSBE DC Professional chapter.  

To follow Dr. Grayson and her work, you can find her on Instagram and Twitter. For updates and more information on the book, you can check out the book’s page

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Nathan Redhead

Nathan is a Grenadian writer and a graduate of the T. A Marryshow Community College in Grenada, where he earned an associate’s degree in sociology and psychology. While obtaining his associate’s degree, he was exposed to the world of poetry and expository writing as a member of the Writer’s Association of Grenada. He’s an avid lover of literature, and as a child, he spent the majority of his free time either watching the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet or trying to dismantle his toys to rebuild them into something that sparked his interest. As a Junior Writer, he hopes to reignite his passion for science and inventing, as well as improve his creative writing ability.

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