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.
Past Pioneer in Tech Award Winners
2023 Pioneer in Tech Award Recipient Dr. Erna Schneider Hoover
NCWIT is excited to announce Dr. Erna Schneider Hoover as the 2023 Pioneer Award recipient for her role in revolutionizing the modern telephone system. Dr. Hoover
2022 Pioneer in Tech Award Recipient Frances “Poppy” Northcutt
Frances “Poppy” Northcutt’s career includes groundbreaking achievements as an engineer, as a women’s rights advocate, and as an attorney. Born in Many, Louisiana, and raised
2021 Pioneer in Tech Award Recipient Gladys West
Dr. Gladys West started her career at Naval Proving Ground in Dahlgren, Virginia, now called the Naval Surface Warfare Center, in 1956, and she worked
2020 Pioneer in Tech Award Recipient Ruzena Bajcsy
Ruzena Bajcsy has spent much of her career at the intersection of human and machine ways of interpreting the world, with research interests that include
2019 Pioneer in Tech Award Recipient Lynn Conway
Lynn Conway began her computing career at IBM research after completing her graduate studies at Columbia, joining the IBM Advanced Computing Systems project just as
2018 Pioneer in Tech Award Recipients Lorinda Cherry and Evi Nemeth
After her graduation in 1969, Lorinda Cherry worked for a few years as a Fortran programmer, but she found it “very boring” to constantly write
2017 Pioneer in Tech Award Recipient Barbara Liskov
Barbara Liskov became one of the first women in the U.S. to get a PhD from a computer science department and has led a noteworthy
2016 Pioneer in Tech Award Recipient Cynthia Solomon
Cynthia Solomon’s focus has been on creating fun-filled, thoughtful, personally expressive, and aesthetically pleasing learning environments for children. Her work has spanned several important collaborations,
2015 Pioneer in Tech Award Recipients Katherine Johnson and Dr. Christine Darden
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
2014 Pioneer in Tech Award Recipient Eleanor Kolchin
Eleanor Kolchin graduated from Brooklyn College in 1947 with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. She was treasurer of Pi Mu Epsilon, the national honorary mathematics