Harrison-Ward, Editor-in-Chief

As we exit Black History Month and enter Women’s History Month, I celebrate an iconic African-American woman, Mrs. Katherine G. Johnson. Mrs. Johnson gained worldwide fame from the movie Hidden Figures in which she was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson.  Mrs. Johnson was a NASA mathematician and scientist whose calculations rivaled the early computers, in fact, she and other women were the human computers.  Astronaut John Glenn asked Mrs. Johnson to verify the computers’ calculations.  She was also the first woman to have her name published on a report as women’s names were never before allowed to be on an official NASA (formerly NACA) document.  Mrs. Johnson was the inspiration for the book, Hidden Figures; West Virginia State University established a STEM scholarship in her name and erected a statue of her; a new building, Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility, at Langley Research Center was named for her; and Mattel made a Barbie in her image.  She received the highest civilian awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2015) and the Congressional Gold Medal (2019).  This past week on February 24th, Mrs. Johnson passed away, but is not forgotten.  I am proud that at 101, my sorority sister Mrs. Katherine G. Johnson provided exemplary service to the United States and was an inspiration beyond math and science.