2022 NCWIT Pioneer in Tech Award Recipient

Frances Poppy Northcut

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 in Luling and Dayton, Texas, Poppy earned a degree in mathematics at the University of Texas. In 1965, she began working for the Apollo program at NASA, initially as a computress and then as a return-to-earth specialist. During the Apollo 8 mission, she became the first woman to work in NASA’s Mission Control Center. She also partic- ipated in the Apollo 11 and Apollo 13 missions and was a member of the mission operations team that received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for rescuing Apollo 13.

As one of few women in engineering, Poppy became increasingly involved in the women’s liberation movement. She helped plan events with the National Organization for Women, a grassroots women’s rights group. Poppy is currently President of Houston Area NOW and Texas NOW. In the 1970s, she served on NOW’s national board of directors and was founding chair of the Harris County Women’s Political Caucus, the first Women’s Advocate for the City of Houston, and a special conference consultant for the National Women’s Conference.

In 1984, Poppy earned a law degree and clerked for a federal appellate judge. She then prosecuted and later defended criminal cases. She was the first felony prose- cutor in the Domestic Violence Unit at the Harris County DA’s Office. In her private practice, she focused on criminal trial and appellate work. Now semi-retired, she is a referral lawyer for Jane’s Due Process, a non-profit providing legal assistance to pregnant teenagers.

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Magazine cover design for Volume 3: "The disability and accessibility issue" of re:think magazine, published by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and bearing the logo for ncwit.org. The cover art features seven photo sections in a variety of bright colors showcasing the eyes of a diverse group of people, with the person in the middle wearing sunglasses.
In the third edition of re:think magazine, we turn to issues of disability and accessibility and how they relate to inclusion and the creation of inclusive cultures. Discussions of inclusion often focus on navigating “visible” differences between people, yet we must always be mindful of all the invisible identities people inhabit, and the importance of creating inclusive cultures across these identities.

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