Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson

As a NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson’s calculations include the trajectory for the space flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space; John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth; and Apollo 11, the first human mission to the moon. Born in 1918, Katherine displayed an early love for numbers: “They tell me I counted everything,” said Katherine. She began her studies at West Virginia State University at the age of 15, where distinguished Dr. William W. Schiefflin Claytor recognized her impressive aptitude and encouraged her to take the necessary courses that would lead to a career as a research mathematician. Katherine would go on to earn her graduate degree. In 1953, she began working as a research mathematician at the Langley Research Center with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the agency that became NASA. Katherine’s computations impacted the history of U.S. space exploration.

View the 2015 NCWIT Summit Pioneer in Tech Award scrapbook, honoring Katherine Johnson.

Other Profiles you might like

A headshot of Ellen Sukovich Parrish smiling at the camera in front of a lilac bush

Ellen Sukovich Parrish

Ellen Sukovich Parrish is a Project Scientist and Curriculum Specialist for TeachEngineering. Ellen uses her scientific training and background to help authors develop high-quality, hands-on

Read More »
A photo of Nancy Dallum wearing a tan blazer over a brown shirt and standing under a bridge

Nancy Dallum

Nancy Dallum is a seasoned professional currently serving as the Higher Education Alliance Manager. In this role, she leads the development and implementation of outreach

Read More »
A headshot of Kate France smiling at the camera. She's wearing a red blazer over a black top and standing in front of a white background

Kate France

Kate France is a PharmD candidate at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy on the beautiful Duluth campus. She is the founder of Scientists

Read More »
A photo of Joshua Childs smiling at the camera

Joshua Childs

Joshua Childs is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. His research examines the

Read More »
Scroll to Top