Dr. Nicki Washington is a professor of the practice of computer science at Duke University and the author of Unapologetically Dope: Lessons for Black Women and Girls on Surviving and Thriving in the Tech Field. Her career in higher education began at Howard University as the first Black female faculty member in the Department of Computer Science. Her professional experience also includes Winthrop University, The Aerospace Corporation, and IBM.
Recognized as one of Essence Magazine’s “Essence Tech Stars: 15 Black Women Disrupting the Tech Industry,” Dr. Washington has led partnerships with the Howard University Middle School of Math and Science, Google, Exploring Computer Science, and Washington, DC Public Schools to introduce computer science courses and teacher professional development across Washington, DC high schools. She was a lead writer for the K-12 CS Framework (led by Code.org) and South Carolina K-12 Computer Science and Digital Literacy Standards. Her efforts in K-12 CS education have directly impacted approximately 10 million K-12 students and thousands of educators in over 20 states and Washington, DC, and they will continue to impact more nationwide as additional states develop K-12 CS standards.
At the undergraduate and industry levels, Dr. Washington’s efforts to recruit and retain students/graduates of color in computing include creating and implementing the first Googler-in-Residence program at Howard University in 2013. This project led to implementations of Googlers-in-Residence at other HBCUs (including Morehouse, Spelman, NC A&T, Fisk, and Hampton). Her current work focuses on addressing the diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in the tech industry by measuring and improving the cultural competence of students in undergraduate computing departments nationwide, including the development of assessments and courses dedicated to this work.
Dr. Washington has been a guest writer for CSforALL, USA Today College, The Root/VerySmartBrothas, Code.org, and Mama Knows It All, and her interviews have included Essence Magazine, The Atlantic, WHUR’s The Daily Drum, Association of Computing Machinery’s “People of ACM,” and Modern Figures Podcast.
She also provides numerous keynotes, panel discussions, and workshops on diversity, equity, and inclusion in computing+tech for various organizations, including the University of Virginia, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, UC-Irvine, North Carolina A&T, Marist College, American University, Bennett College for Women, Johnson C. Smith University, SXSW EDU, Association for Computing Machinery’s Council on Women in Computing, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., National Coalition for Women in Technology, blackComputeHER, Grace Hopper Celebration, Innovate Your Cool, National Society of Black Engineers, Google, Red Ventures, Wallbreakers, NASA, Advancing the Careers of Technical Women (ACT-W), The DC STEM Summit, and American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Washington is also an experienced technical writer/editor, with over 15 years of consulting experience ranging from small to large enterprises. She is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University (B.S., ‘00) and North Carolina State University (M.S., ’02; Ph.D., ’05), becoming the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. at the university and 2019 Computer Science Hall of Fame Inductee. She is a native of Durham, NC.