Coleman transferred to Lexington Technical Institute (now Bluegrass Community and Technical College) where she earned her associate degree in engineering technology. Shortly after, Coleman started working for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, which at that time, was known as the Kentucky Department of Transportation's Division of Bridges.
Upon enrolling in civil engineering classes at UK, Coleman often found herself to be the only Black student — and the only female.
“It can be difficult for a Black woman to relate to all the white male students in the department,” she said.
But Coleman persevered.
In 1977, she earned her degree in civil engineering — becoming the first Black woman to graduate from UK Engineering.
Following graduation, Coleman moved to Alaska where she became a senior structural engineer and the owner of a firm.
Thanks to pioneers — like Coleman — the number of Black women embracing careers in the field of engineering has greatly increased. As a result, so has the quality of the entire field.
To learn more about how the university is celebrating Black History Month visit http://uknow.uky.edu/campus-news/black-history-month-celebrating-those-who-paved-way.
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