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Mary Jackson

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How Figures Like Katherine Johnson Paved the Way For the Next Generation of Black Women in STEM

“I care a lot about preparing things for the future, but at the same time I honor those who’ve come before me and recognize the sacrifices that they made.” KaYesu Machayo, 21, didn’t necessarily set out to pursue a career in STEM, but attributes her interest in the field to those who paved the way like Katherine Johnson — the hidden figure responsible for not only putting an astronaut into orbit around Earth, but helping to put a man on the moon too. Machayo is a daughter of the generation that Johnson made leaps for. As a Girls Who Code, alum, Machayo has an interest in using technology not only for social good, but to also close the gender gap and create things that make the world a more equitable place. Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology by using their programs to educate, equip and inspire girls like Machayo with the computing skills they’ll need to pursue 21st-century opportunities. These are the opportunities that...

Shanique Yates

Feb 12, 2021

NASA Renames Headquarters After Its First Black Woman Engineer, Mary W. Jackson

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced that it will rename its Washington D.C. headquarters after Mary W. Jackson, the first African American female engineer at NASA. Jackson, who was portrayed by Janelle Monáe in the box office hit “Hidden Figures,” started her career in the West Area Computing Unit of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. As a mathematician and aerospace engineer, Jackson authored and/or co-authored several research reports centered around the behavior of the boundary layer of air around airplanes. She also advocated for the hiring and promotion of the next generation of female mathematicians, engineers, and scientists. “Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology,” said Bridenstine, according to a NASA...

Devin Crudup

Jun 26, 2020