Nicknamed the “grand old lady of software” and known as “amazing Grace” by her subordinates, Hopper had a distinguished career in higher education, private industry, and the U.S. Navy and made significant efforts in educating younger generations about advanced information systems technology.
Happy Women’s History Month! This week we’re celebrating incredible women in STEM.
As an aspiring engineer in the early 1970s, Lynne Kiorpes was easy to spot in her undergraduate classes. Among a sea of men, she and a handful of other women made easy targets for a particular professor at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. On the first day of class, “he looked around and said ‘I see women in the classroom. I don’t believe women have any business in engineering, and I’m going to personally see to it that you all fail’.
He wasn’t bluffing. All but one of the women in the class ultimately left engineering; Kiorpes went on to major in psychology.
Happy Women’s History Month! This week we’re focusing on awesome women in STEM fields.
When Sabrina Thompson was trying to decide on a college major, one of her high school teachers informed her that the science and math courses required for a mechanical engineering degree would be too hard for her. Instead of taking his advice, she accepted it as a challenge and set out to prove him wrong. And, indeed, she did. Today, Ms. Thompson works with a team of safety experts to keep the brilliant minds at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center safe and protected in the workplace by identifying potential hazards and creating solutions to mitigate them.
This is awesome: Women at NASA
In March we sat down with Katie Miller — a leading advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) service members — to talk about her experience coming out as a lesbian to the world and the recent policy changes surrounding female and LGBT service members.
Q: Can you describe the day you decided to resign from the U.S. Military Academy and what it was like to publicly come out to America?
A: Coming out to the world … I actually did an interview on The Rachel Maddow Show before I was formally discharged and there was no way I was going to be able to leave post to give this interview, and West Point certainly didn’t want that to happen. So I ended up setting up Skype so I could do a live interview with Rachel Maddow from my computer. And at that point I hadn’t even been out to my father, my brother, or my sister; the only one in my immediate family that knew about my sexuality was my mom.
I remember that was the point at which there was no turning back; it was not only my family that was going to know, but my sexuality was going to be known by the rest of world, too, and I was going to be perceived first and foremost as a gay woman in the military.
And I remember when I was giving this interview I had this bad habit of looking up and looking at my image on the screen instead of looking directly at the camera, which is just poor aesthetics. So the producer told me, “Hey, let your computer screen go to sleep.” So I did, and I literally came out looking at this black screen, which was kind of symbolic for the fact that I didn’t know what was going to happen, and I didn’t know how it was going to be received. The only thing that I had was the faith that I had in myself and my cause.
Q: How did you feel about the combat ban lift?
A: That was great, and it was totally unexpected. Basically, the military has taken steps to make sure that service members have the opportunity to serve in the military and sacrifice for their country based only on their capability.
We have all these arbitrary factors floating around saying women shouldn’t be in combat because of XYZ, which just didn’t hold up with logic. And it’s the same thing with gays in the military. With gays [the claim] was that they would compromise the unit cohesiveness, and all these bogus arguments about why we would be treating a certain class of people differently from another class. And I think that is why President Obama and Secretary Leon Panetta’s legacy is so important — to make sure that anyone who is qualified to serve will have the opportunity and will only be judged based on their capability. So lifting the combat ban for women is just a further example of that commitment.
Here is Jacqueline Cochran, one of the most renowned female pilots in the early 20th century. She was the first woman to break the sound barrier and the first woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic, among other accomplishments.
At the time of Cochran’s death on Aug. 9, 1980, she held more international speed, distance and altitude records than any other pilot, male or female.
Happy Women’s History Month!