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

Janice Zdankus Photo

Janice Zdankus

Janice Zdankus is Vice President of Quality in Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Customer Experience and Quality team.  In this role, Janice and her team are transforming

Read More »
Joan Williams headshot

Joan C. Williams

Joan C. Williams Williams is Distinguished Professor of Law and Hastings Foundation Chair at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She has

Read More »
Linda Werner headshot

Linda Werner

Dr. Linda Werner is an Adjunct Professor in the Computer Science Department and a Lecturer in the Technology and Information Management Department at the University

Read More »
Randy Stoecker headshot

Randy Stoecker

Randy Stoecker is a Professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, with a joint appointment in the University

Read More »
Scroll to Top