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Engineer for diversity: Gwendolyn Boyd

She spent 33 years at JHU's Applied Physics Laboratory before leaving in 2014 to become president at Alabama State University

This profile is among 61 originally created for the Indispensable Role of Blacks at Johns Hopkins exhibit, which is presented jointly by the Johns Hopkins University Black Faculty and Staff Association, the Office of the President, and Development and Alumni Relations. In celebration of Black History Month, the Hub will publish select profiles from the exhibit throughout February.


As the first black person to earn a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Yale University, Gwendolyn Boyd is determined to encourage greater diversity in the field.

Gwendolyn Boyd

Image caption: Gwendolyn Boyd

Boyd joined the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory as a team engineer in 1980, and she went on to serve as assistant for development programs, coordinating all external programs including research at other universities, and as executive assistant to the APL chief of staff.

Boyd helped establish the APL Technology Leadership Scholars Program, as well as the ATLAS Summer Internship Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Minority Institutions. She was named chair of the Johns Hopkins Institutions Diversity Leadership Council, and in 2010 President Obama appointed her to the board of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

She spent a total of 33 years at Johns Hopkins before departing in 2014 to become the 14th president at her alma mater, Alabama State University.

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