Black History Month
February is #BlackHistoryMonth. From successful rocket missions, to creating new computers and computer chip technology, to life-saving medical advancements, New Mexico Tech is proud to celebrate African-American leaders across the STEM disciplines!
Engineer, physician, astronaut - In 1992 Dr. Mae Jemison became the first black woman to travel into space as part of the Space Shuttle Endeavor team.
Born into slavery, George Washington Carver went on to become an agricultural scientist, teaching at Tuskegee University for 47 years. He is especially well known for inventing over 300 uses for peanuts.
Asmeret Asefaw Berhe's research is focused on global change science and the impact of changing environmental conditions in soil.
Mark Dean is the co-creator of the IBM personal computer released in 1981. In 1998, Dean's design team created the first one-gigahertz computer processing chip. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1997.
Physicist George Carruthers invented the ultraviolet camera for NASA's launch of Apollo 16 & his invention recorded the first observation of molecular hydrogen in outer space. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2003.
Katherine Johnson's 35 year career as a NASA mathematician led to the success of U.S. manned spaceflights, as well as working on the Space Shuttle and the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (later renamed Landsat). Her accomplishments were portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures. In 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.
Ernest Everett Just was a pioneering African American biologist who's primary legacy is his recognition of the fundamental role of the cell surface in the development of organisms.
Shirley Ann Jackson is the first African American woman to earn a doctorate at MIT and the second African American woman in the U.S. to earn a doctorate in physics. She is currently the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Vivien Thomas was an African American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat medical issues like "blue baby syndrome" without any education past high school. He was the director of Surgical Research Laboratories at Johns Hopkins University, and was later appointed to the medical school faculty as an Instructor of Surgery.
Valerie Thomas created the Illusion Transmitter, a device using two parabolic mirrors to television & makes images look three dimensional. Thomas also oversaw the NASA Landsat team responsible for the first satellite to send images from space.
Edward Alexander Bouchet was the first African American to earn a PhD from any American university, completing his physics dissertation at Yale in 1876. At this time he was only the sixth person in the Western Hemisphere to earn a physics doctorate.
Mathematician Gladys West is best known for her work on the mathematical modeling of the shape of the Earth and her contributions developing the Global Positioning System. In 2018 West was inducted into the US Air Force Hall of Fame.
Dorothy Vaughn was a NASA mathematician, expert FORTRAN programmer, and contributor to the Scout Launch Vehicle Program. In 1949 she became the agency's first African-American manager.
Interested in a career in STE²M? Check out some of the links below to get started!