But how often do we recognize the lesser-known geniuses who stayed in their office, studio, or lab and out of the limelight? These are the unsung heroes we love hearing about.
In honor of Black History Month, we would like to recognize one of those incredible people, Katherine Johnson.
Born in 1918, in an era where not only women but also people of color lacked opportunities. They weren’t allowed access to higher education. They had to fight for basic rights. The odds were stacked against her, but she didn’t let that stop her.
Here are just a few of the amazing things she did:
- She was one of three black students chosen to integrate West Virginia State College. There, she obtained not just one, but two bachelor’s degrees. One in Mathematics and one in French.
- She worked at Langley, in the all-black West Area Computing section at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA’s) laboratory. NACA later became known as NASA.
- In 1957 she provided some of the math for the 1958 document notes on Space Technology, which was used in lectures given by engineers from the Flight Research Division and the Pilotless Aircraft Research Division (PARD).
- She did trajectory analysis for America’s first human space flight.
- She co-authored a report where she was the first woman in the Flight Research Division to receive credit as an author of a research report.
- She worked on John Glenn’s flight, programming computers, satellites, and constructing worldwide communications.
- She worked on several other flight missions, authored and coauthored 26 other research reports, and was awarded the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by Barak Obama.
In 2018, Katherine celebrated her 100th birthday just 2 years before she passed away. This was a final accomplishment following what was a lifetime of incredible achievements.
What an impressive life!
It’s people like Katherine who help keep the world moving forward. They aren’t in it for the fame. They do it because of the incredible doors that are opened, leaving a trail for the next generation of young dreamers.
Source: Bill Good Marketing