First Black Woman to Graduate from University of Wisconsin-Madison Launches State-of-the-Art ‘Carefree Comb’

by Xara Aziz
Facebook/Miona Short

Following a recent report that Black Americans only represent 3% of people in the physics industry and only 2% in astronomy, astrophysicist Miona Short is making news as one of the few representing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in an inspiring way.

In 2018, Short broke new ground after becoming the first Black woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics. The watershed moment came 100 years after the first Black woman graduated from the institution.

“Short came to the UW by way of Walter Payton College Prep, a selective enrollment public high school on Chicago’s affluent near north side where she got the opportunity to participate in research being conducted by astronomers at Caltech,” reads a statement on the school’s website.

While at UW, Short said she wanted to create a beauty and hair tool to help students balance the upkeep of their hair while studying, so she conceived and implemented the idea to create Shukrah and the Carefree Comb — a wide-tooth comb inspired by the passing of her grandfather. She said that when he died, she lost motivation to do her hair.

She would then invest her funds to design a computer-aided product, which took seven years. The Carefree Comb has since won a grant from rapper Chamillionaire, and its mission is to bring ease to help people with thick hair manage their tresses.

“After being laid off, I knew I didn’t have the money to completely flesh out product development as a bigger company would,” Short told Black Enterprise. “I could barely afford rent, much less afford multiple rounds of testing [contract manufacturer] prototypes with trial and error. That gets expensive real quick. I really only had one shot at making this work. I had to take a leap of faith. So here I am, hoping Shukrah has wings.”

Short says while the comb is still pending patent approval, she hopes to begin shipping orders for 2023’s holiday season.

To learn more about Carefree Comb, visit here.

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