Pioneer in Tech Award

The NCWIT Pioneer in Tech Award recognizes technical women whose lifetime contributions have significantly impacted the landscape of technological innovation, amplifying the importance of capitalizing on the diverse perspectives that girls and women can bring to the table. Pioneer in Tech Award recipients also serve as role models whose legacies continue to inspire generations of young women to pursue computing and make history in their own right.

Congratulations to Dr. Erna Schneider Hoover—the 2023 recipient of the NCWIT Pioneer in Tech Award!

Dr. Erna Schneider Hoover joined Bell Telephone Laboratories at the dawn of computer enterprise as one of few women in a field largely dominated by men. Among her many accomplishments, she worked on Number 1 ESS (Electronic Switching System), a highly reliable electronic computer to control or “switch” telephone calls. She wrote the specifications for the instruction set for the computer and the specifications for the operating system. Later, she invented an algorithm enabling the computer to cope with telephone traffic overload, an algorithm which Bell Labs patented. As a result of this patent, she was inducted in the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame. She was promoted to Technical Supervisor, then Technical Department Head at Bell Labs, and was the first woman to hold either position.

Learn more about Erna Schneider Hoover here, and tune in for the 2023 NCWIT Pioneer in Tech Award Celebration on Thursday, May 18 at 12:30 p.m. MT as part of the 2023 NCWIT Summit.

Faceshot of Ema Hoover standing on a dirt path with trees in the background.

Past Pioneer in Tech Award Winners

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