Advocating for WISER and more inclusive public policy

Rhonda V. Sharpe

Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe is founder and president of the Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race, the first think tank to focus solely on the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of women of color. She is the current President of the National Economic Association.

She has served on the faculty at Barnard College, Bennett College, Bucknell University, Columbia University, Duke University, and the University of Vermont. She is the co-founder (with Sandy Darity) of the Diversity Initiative for Tenure in Economics (DITE) for which she served as the Associate Director from 2008 to 2014. At Bucknell University, she served as the university advisor for Tau Kappa Epsilon. While at Duke, she has served as Director of the Global Inequality Research Initiative (GIRI), the Research Director for The Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality and as the Associate Director for the American Economic Association Summer Program and Minority Scholarship Program. Additionally, at Bennett College, she has served as the Chair of the Department of Business and Economics and Director of Financial Literacy.

In 2011, she organized the national conference “The Invisible Woman: The Status of and Challenges Facing Black Women” to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Slipping Through the Cracks: The Status of Black Women”, edited by Julianne Malveaux and Margret Simms. Additionally, she has served on the National Advisory Board for the AEA Summer Program and on the Rhonda William Prize Selection Committee. She is on the editorial board for the Journal of African American Studies and serves as a consultant to the American Associate for Blacks in Energy on issues of workforce diversity.

Rhonda’s research focuses on three areas: gender and racial inequality; the diversity of STEM; and the demography of higher education. “Black Women in the U.S. Economy: The Hardest Working Woman”, a book project with Nina N. Banks (Bucknell University) and Cecilia A. Conrad (MacArthur Foundation) expected 2018, will be part of the International Association of Feminist Economics – Advances in Feminist Economics. Her recent publications include: “Mentoring Programs” (with Nicole Lewis) in People of Color in the United States: Contemporary Issues in Education, Work, Communities, Health and Immigration; “Poverty in Global Perspective” (with Kendal Swanson) in The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies; and “HBCUs: Creating a Scientific Workforce Outta 15 Cents” in Setting a New Agenda for Student Engagement and Retention in Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Other publications include “Historically Black Colleges and Universities” and “Diversity in Higher Education” in the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism (2nd Edition), the co-edited volume Black Female Undergraduates on Campus: Successes and Challenges (with Crystal Chambers) (Diversity in Higher Education series); “What Type of Institutions are Successful at Replicating the Diversity of the Full-Time Student Population in the Pool of Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded for STEM-Disciplines” in Beyond Stock and Stories of Folk Tales: African Americans and the Pipeline to the Professoriate and Evidence-Based Examination of STEM Fields (Diversity in Higher Education series); and “America’s Future Demands a Diverse and Competitive STEM Workforce” in Jobs Rebuild America: Putting Urban America Back to Work.

She was the 2008-09 Institute of Higher Education Law & Governance Fellow at the University of Houston Law Center. She is the co-recipient of the 2004 Rhonda Williams Prize from the International Association for Feminist Economics. She was a Carolina Minority Postdoctoral Fellow in the economics department at UNC-Chapel Hill. She completed her undergraduate studies in Mathematics at North Carolina Wesleyan College. She holds master’s degrees from Clark Atlanta University (Applied Mathematics), Stanford University (Operations Research) and Claremont Graduate University (Economics). She completed her doctorate in Economics/Mathematics at Claremont Graduate University.

Rhonda has been a guest on MPR News with Kerri Miller (Minnesota Public Radio) and The State of Things (WUNC). Her opinions have been quoted in the New York Times, GRIO, the Chronicle of Higher Education and Duke Today.

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