As many of you know, March is National Women’s History Month, and the Honorees for 2013 were announced late last year. The National Women’s History Project chose as their 2013 theme, “Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.” The selection committee identified 18 women as “extraordinary visionaries and role models in the STEM fields, where women are still noticeably under- represented.”
I perused the accomplishments of these extraordinary women in fields as diverse and arcane as medicine, robotics, computer programming, atmospheric chemistry, architecture, and primatology! WOW! I only recognized one name, Julia Morgan, who we know was the first woman to be licensed as an architect in California and who worked to advance opportunities for women in her field. Another woman particularly sparked my interest: Mary Ross (1908-2008.) She was the first woman to be hired as an engineer in Lockheed’s Missiles Systems Division, as well as being the first Native American woman engineer. Enjoying a career working on systems for interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus, Mary Ross retired to pursue a second career as an advocate for Native Americans in engineering and math.
It seems appropriate that the Woman’s Club of Palo Alto pause to reflect on what some of our “sisters” have accomplished.