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Mary Jackson was the first black, female engineer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Since graduating high school with highest honors, Mary Jackson was destined to change the world of mathematics and engineering.

 

In 1951, she was recruited by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and seven years later, NASA was succeeded. During her time at NASA, she focused on the behavior of the boundary layer of air around airplanes. After dedicating 20 years as a NASA engineer, she was never given the opportunity to hold a management-level position, despite her qualifications. Consequently, she took a demotion and became the manager of the women’s programs to improve NASA’s next generation of women scientists

After retiring from NASA, she continued to educate children in math and science and to empowered them to work hard to follow their dreams.

 

Fun Fact: Mary Jackson’s empowering story is featured in the non-fiction book and movie, Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016).