Tam’ra-Kay Francis is the project lead for the BlackPast Science Communication Internship Program at the University of Washington. She is a fierce advocate for equity and access to high quality STEM learning experiences and has over 15 years of experience working with academic and research programs designed to provide holistic support for minoritized students. Her two-word mantra, “beyond category,” is the center of her work and research which examines STEM identity and educational development as part of social and cultural contexts both within disciplines and in transdisciplinary environments. Her efforts engage both faculty and students in the development of equity-based environments. She was recently named a “rising star” on the list of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists in America.
In March 2021, the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) recognized her as the award recipient for Innovative Response, Social Justice for her leadership and commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives at the UW. In May, Dr. Francis was recognized as the 2021 recipient of the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences at the Northwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Additionally, Dr. Francis was recently nominated for the University of Washington 2021 Outstanding Public Service Award.
Dr. Francis is the founder and project lead for the STEM educational and mentoring development programs PR2ISM and Dear Black Students. She earned her B.A and M.A degrees in Chemistry from Fisk University and a PhD in Science Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.