NASA’s Katherine Johnson a role model for generations to come

As an African American female scientist, Johnson shattered several glass ceilings.



February 26, 2020 - 9:43 AM

US President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to NASA mathematician and physicist Katherine Johnson on November 24, 2015. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images/TNS

If women and girls in this country are making any progress on shattering the negative stereotypes of what they can do in mathematics and engineering, they have Katherine Johnson to thank for helping to pave the way.

Johnson was a pioneer at NASA and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics between 1930 and 1970. She, along with other black women, helped make critical calculations that launched our astronauts into orbit.

But as important, the challenges they fought through inspired generations of women, and especially women of color, who came after them to believe that they too could succeed.

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