For the Culture: USF student makes history as first Black woman to graduate from CSE doctoral program

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Dr. Shamaria Engram has made history as the first Black woman to graduate from the University of South Florida’s Computer Science and Engineering doctoral program.

USF’s Computer Science and Engineering doctoral program has been around since the early 1980s. In nearly 40 years, no Black woman has graduated with this degree. That has now changed, thanks to Dr. Engram.

“You kind of have to put on this face because you don’t want someone to look at you differently,” said Dr. Engram, who was born and raised in Tampa Bay. “You want them to consider you as smart as everyone else in the room.”

Dr. Engram grew up often times being the only Black person in the room. She attended Strawberry Crest High School, which was predominately white. After graduating, she attending Bethune Cookman University, a Historical Black University in Daytona Beach.

“I went to an HBCU and at first it was a culture shock because I went to a predominately white high school,” she said.

At BCU, the majority of her classmates looked like her. That all changed when she graduated and came to USF to pursue her doctoral degree in Computer Science and Engineering. At

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