News Menu

News
View Latest Posts
View Subscriptions
Posting Instructions

Active Bloggers

Elynor Moss Elynor Moss
North Carolina Central University class of 2003
Anica Oaks Anica Oaks
class of 2012
Steven Lively Steven Lively
class of 1983
HBCU CONNECT HBCU CONNECT
Central State University class of 1995
Kamal Imani Kamal Imani
class of
Will Moss Will Moss
Hampton University class of 1995
Reggie Culpepper Reggie Culpepper
Clark Atlanta University class of 1998
Beverly Johnson Beverly Johnson
class of

NASA Names Headquarters after HBCU Grad and First Black Female Engineer @ NASA - Mary Winston

NASA Names Headquarters after HBCU Grad and First Black Female Engineer @ NASA - Mary Winston
Posted By: Will Moss on June 25, 2020

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Wednesday the agency’s headquarters building in Washington, D.C., will be named after Mary W. Jackson, the first Black female engineer at NASA.

Mary started her career in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. A mathematician and aerospace engineer, she went on to lead programs influencing the hiring and promotion of women in NASA’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.

The work of the West Area Computing Unit caught national attention in the 2016 Margot Lee Shetterly book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.” The book was made into a popular movie that same year and Jackson’s character was played by award-winning actress Janelle Monáe.

“NASA facilities across the country are named after people who dedicated their lives to push the frontiers of the aerospace industry,” said Bridenstine in the statement. “The nation is beginning to awaken to the greater need to honor the full diversity of people who helped pioneer our great nation. We know there are many other people of color and diverse backgrounds who have contributed to our success, which is why we’re continuing the conversations started about a year ago with the agency’s Unity Campaign. NASA is dedicated to advancing diversity, and we will continue to take steps to do so.”

Mary Winston was born and raised in Hampton, Virginia. After high school, she graduated from Hampton Institute in 1942 with a dual degree in math and physical sciences, and initially accepted a job as a math teacher in Calvert County, Maryland. She would work as a bookkeeper, marry Levi Jackson and start a family, and work a job as a U.S. Army secretary before her aerospace career would take off.

In 1951, Mary was recruited by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which in 1958 was succeeded by NASA. She started as a research mathematician who became known as one of the human computers at Langley. She worked under fellow “Hidden Figure” Dorothy Vaughan in the segregated West Area Computing Unit.



After two years in the computing pool, she received an offer to work in the 4-foot by 4-foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel, a 60,000 horsepower wind tunnel capable of blasting models with winds approaching twice the speed of sound. There, she received hands-on experience conducting experiments.

Her supervisor eventually suggested she enter a training program that would allow Jackson to earn a promotion from mathematician to engineer. Because the classes were held at then-segregated Hampton High School, Mary needed special permission to join her white peers in the classroom.

Mary completed the courses, earned the promotion, and in 1958 became NASA’s first Black female engineer. For nearly two decades during her engineering career, she authored or co-authored research numerous reports, most focused on the behavior of the boundary layer of air around airplanes. In 1979, she joined Langley’s Federal Women’s Program, where she worked hard to address the hiring and promotion of the next generation of female mathematicians, engineers and scientists. Mary retired from Langley in 1985.

“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. “Today, we proudly announce the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building. It appropriately sits on ‘Hidden Figures Way,’ a reminder that Mary is one of many incredible and talented professionals in NASA’s history who contributed to this agency’s success. Hidden no more, we will continue to recognize the contributions of women, African Americans, and people of all backgrounds who have made NASA’s successful history of exploration possible.”

In 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medal Act that posthumously awarded the honor to Jackson, who passed away in 2005, and her “Hidden Figures” colleagues Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Christine Darden.

“We are honored that NASA continues to celebrate the legacy of our mother and grandmother Mary W. Jackson,” said, Carolyn Lewis, Mary’s daughter. “She was a scientist, humanitarian, wife, mother, and trailblazer who paved the way for thousands of others to succeed, not only at NASA, but throughout this nation.
If you enjoyed this article, Join HBCU CONNECT today for similar content and opportunities via email!
Comments
Please Login To Post Comments...
Email:
Password:

 
More From This Author
Interview Now For 2021 Student Internships with JPMorgan Chase
Howard University Graduate, Kamala Harris, Selected as 2020 Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate to Joe Biden!
She Attended the Microsoft HBCU CONNECT Event for Black Tech Professionals and Was Hired Immediately!
President of HBCU Fisk University Denies Accussations of Drugging a Man after Gay Affair
HBCU Delaware State University Mourns Loss of the Institution's Oldest Living Graduate, Courtney Stevenson
Northrop Grumman HBCU Invitational
Latest News
Dr. Debarshi Roy of Alcorn State University recognized by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education for his COVID-19 research

Dr. Debarshi Roy of Alcorn State University recognized by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education for his COVID-19 research

Scientific researchers worldwide are on the front lines of finding a cure to eliminate the invisible enemy that is COVID-19. Among those researchers is Alcorn State University’s Dr. Debarshi Roy, an a ...more
Reggie Culpepper • 16 Views • August 11th, 2020
Delaware State University Mourns The Passing Of Courtney Stevenson, a 106-Year-Old Alumna

Delaware State University Mourns The Passing Of Courtney Stevenson, a 106-Year-Old Alumna

Delaware State University is mourning the passing of Courtney Stevenson, who had been the institution’s oldest living graduate. Mrs. Stevenson – who passed away on Aug. 5 at Bayhealth Medical Center i ...more
Reggie Culpepper • 49 Views • August 11th, 2020
President of HBCU Fisk University Denies Accussations of Drugging a Man after Gay Affair

President of HBCU Fisk University Denies Accussations of Drugging a Man after Gay Affair

A Nashville magistrate signed an order of protection against Fisk University President Dr. Kevin Rome, Sr. after a man claimed he met Rome via the gay dating app Grindr and testified Rome had drugged ...more
Will Moss • 2,611 Views • August 11th, 2020
HBCU Delaware State University Mourns Loss of the Institution's Oldest Living Graduate, Courtney Stevenson

HBCU Delaware State University Mourns Loss of the Institution's Oldest Living Graduate, Courtney Stevenson

DOVER, Del.Delaware State University is mourning the passing of Courtney Stevenson, who had been the institution’s oldest living graduate. Mrs. Stevenson – who passed away on Aug. 5 at Bayhealth Medic ...more
Will Moss • 418 Views • August 11th, 2020
Race for the Net-When African Americans Controlled the Internet and What Happens Now?

Race for the Net-When African Americans Controlled the Internet and What Happens Now?

RACE FOR THE NET The Untold Story Did you know that at one time, African Americans controlled one of the most critical technologies of the 20th and 21st centuries, ultimately contributing more than $7 ...more
Albert White • 123 Views • August 11th, 2020
Popular News
Louisiana Upholds Life Sentence to Black Man For Stealing Hedge Trimmers in 1997

Louisiana Upholds Life Sentence to Black Man For Stealing Hedge Trimmers in 1997

While this may not be HBCU related news, as an AFrican American male, I had to share this appalling decision by the Louisiana court system to keep a man in jail with a life sentence for such a petty c ...more
Will Moss • 238,624 Views • August 6th, 2020
Apple to Invest over $40 Million Dollars into HBCUs - Time to major in Computer Science!!!

Apple to Invest over $40 Million Dollars into HBCUs - Time to major in Computer Science!!!

On Tuesday Johnny C. Taylor, President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund stopped by “NewsOne Now” to make a major announcement that could literally change the lives of thousands of HBCU st ...more
Will Moss • 108,801 Views • March 11th, 2015
JPMorgan Chase now accepting applications for summer internships 2020 and full-time employment

JPMorgan Chase now accepting applications for summer internships 2020 and full-time employment

JPMorgan Chase has a couple of opportunities that we wanted to share with you for those students who are looking for an internshipthis summer or for those who have recently graduated and are currently ...more
Reggie Culpepper • 44,755 Views • December 30th, 2019
Merck Leadership Development Program for Graduating Seniors - Deadline Friday!

Merck Leadership Development Program for Graduating Seniors - Deadline Friday!

HBCUConnect.com founder Will Moss announced a new partnership between Merck, a global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, and HBCUConnect.com, the largest s ...more
Will Moss • 43,118 Views • June 15th, 2016
Top 50 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Rankings

Top 50 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Rankings

How does your HBCU rank against the other top HBCUs in the country? Check out this recent ranking on HBCUConnect.com! ...more
Reggie Culpepper • 39,749 Views • September 11th, 2014
Please Give Us a Like on Facebook!