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Mary Jackson

Engineer at NASA

Who is Mary Jackson? 

Mary Jackson was a mathematician and aerospace engineer at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which would eventually become NASA. You may know her because of her representation in Hidden Figures! Before she was being played by Janelle Monáe on the big screen, she was being raised in Hampton, Virginia, by Ella and Frank Winston. She attended George P. Phenix High School, working hard so she could go on to earn her bachelor’s degree in mathematics and political science at Hampton University. 

She began her career as a research mathematician. After being at NASA for five ears along with taking multiple courses, Mary joined a special training and program and was promoted to aerospace engineer. Mary’s job was analyzing data from wind tunnel experiments and using real-world aircraft flight experiments. Simply put, Mary’s focus was understanding how flow and how that flow could affect the rockets they were sending to space. 

While at NASA, Jackson authored twelve technical papers for the agency. But she never forgot where she came from. She helped women and minorities advance their careers, so just like her, they could become engineers too. She even served as the Federal Women’s Program manager in the Office of Equal Opportunity! 

3 Things We Love About Mary Jackson:

  • Jackson was married to Levi Jackson, having two children, Levi Jr and Carolyn Marie Lewis. 
  • Mary Jackson served on many organizations’ boards and committees, including the Girl Scouts of America.
  • She was honored by many charitable organizations for her leadership and service, including the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Work Cited

Mary Winston Jackson (1921–2005)

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