Saturday, 8 July 2017
Black Women in Science - Mary Jackson, NASA engineer
Mary Jackson was the engineer featured in the film Hidden Figures. She became the first black female engineer in NASA in 1958, encouraged by Kazimierz Czarnecki, who she worked for at the Supersonic Pressure Tunnel. She co-authored several scientific papers with Czarnecki over the years she worked with him.
In the 1970s, she helped the children at the science club in Hampton to build their own wind tunnel, to get them interested in science and show them that there were black scientists out there. She started off her working life as a teacher in 1942. Away from her work, she was a Girl Scout troop leader for thirty years.
She rose through the ranks at NASA to the most senior position available in the engineering department over her 34 year career there, and then agreed to accept a demotion in order to work as an administrator in the Equal Opportunity Specialist field, where she worked to assist talented women to gain promotions and achieve the recognition they deserved.
She retired in 1985 and died in 2005.