Trailblazing Women You May Not Know (But Should): Ellen Ochoa
Each week, the Lean In tumblr will spotlight women who made a lasting mark on the world — yet didn’t always end up in the history books. This week we celebrate Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut.
Ellen Ochoa was 11 when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Years later, she would become the first Latina to head into space — but she would never have believed that at the time. There were no female astronauts when she was growing up; at the University of San Diego, where she attended college, a professor told her to steer clear of engineering because the classes would be too difficult. "I never considered being an astronaut as an option because when I was growing up there were no female astronauts," she said.
And yet she graduated with a degree in Physics, and went on to receive a doctorate in electrical engineering. In 1990, she was selected from more than 2,000 applicants to enroll in NASA’s engineering training program; she made her first trip into space on the Discovery in 1993, where she made history as the first Latina astronaut.
Now 55, Ochoa made history again this year by becoming the first Hispanic director of the Johnson Space Center, NASA’s primary center for design, development, and testing of spacecraft systems. She says her goal there is what it always has been: “Trying to push the boundaries, trying to get to the next level.”
(Photo Credit: NASA/Getty Images)
In Tuesday’s terrifying incident in which a man carrying a rifle and other weapons entered an Atlanta elementary school, Antoinette Tuff helped convince the gunman to surrender.
More people need to hear about this!
“As part of the custody trial, the judge ordered me to attend parenting classes. I was humiliated at first, because most of the guys in the class had been incarcerated, but I decided to make the best of it. I started counseling all the other fathers in there. I mainly encouraged them to stand up for their rights, and to not let their child’s mother hold their past over their heads. Anyway, at the end of the program, the director nominated me for a citywide Father Of The Year Award. He wrote a long letter about me. How about that?”
As I check my armor before heading out to be Boba Fett at a fundraiser for an organization that supports families affected by Pediatric Cancer, I started thinking
There are going to be several people I know giving up their Saturday to attend this fundraising festival in a variety of Costumes, from Star Wars to Disney Princesses. And none of us are going to be paid anything. We are all volunteering. Of our own Free Will and on our own time.
And to me?
These people are the “Cosplay Heroes.” And there is a whole Legion of them out there.
People that will more than likely never have a TV show, or a Documentary follow them around. Individuals that will not become “Household” names in the nerds.
But they are out there. Doing good, supporting charity, giving smiles to children of all ages.
These people are my Heroes.
And I’m proud to work along with them to use our Hobby to bring light into dark times and hope into sadness.
Rocket Girl: The Story of Mary Sherman Morgan, America’s First Female Rocket Scientist is for sale now.
Mary Sherman Morgan, born in 1921, worked at Rocketdyne during the space age. she was the only women there, and one of the few without a college degree. She had dropped out of college to take up a job as a chemist, since she was short on money. She was most famous for the development of Hydene, the fuel that powered the Explorer 1, the first US satellite, into orbit.
Her son wrote a semi-biographical play about her life. This was such a success that he followed this up with a book, which can be found in your favorite bookstore today.
(via Women in Science)
I decided to break the law to provide a necessary medical service because women were dying at the hands of butchers and incompetent quacks, and there was no one there to help them. The law was barbarous, cruel and unjust. I had been in a concentration camp, and I knew what suffering was. If I can ease suffering, I feel perfectly justified in doing so.
Today is the birthday of one of my personal heroes.
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace
Ada was the only legitimate child of the English poet, Lord Byron. Born in the 1800s, she was part of a world that didn’t have many female scientists and mathematicians like her.
Why was she badass?
Among her many other accomplishments, Ada is widely considered to be the world’s first computer programmer.
In 1842–43, Ada translated an Italian manuscript on Charles Babbage’s proposed Analytical Engine, the very first design for a Turing-complete general purpose computer. With the article, she appended a set of notes explaining the Analytical Engine’s function.
This was difficult, considering other scientists did not actually grasp Babbage’s concept. The notes she left were longer than the manuscript itself and included, in complete detail, a method for calculating a sequence of Bernoulli numbers with the Engine.
When the first complete Babbage Analytical Engine was completed in 2002, her method was found to successfully and efficiently run on it. Yes, the algorithm she wrote in the notes of a translation she did, for a computing device the likes of which had never been seen and that had not even been built and wouldn’t be tested until 150 years after her death.
Although it is a bit silly, I like to think that one can trace a long line of female computer programmers down from Ada Lovelace. I learned my first programming languages from my mother. I’ll tear down any chauvinist who says girls can’t code.
Oh, sure, the program worked. But it still took 159 years to compile.
Wow. And yes. Beautiful. Listen to Philip, speaking:
The woman at my polling place asked me do I believe in equality for gay and lesbian people. I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her: what do you think I fought for in Omaha Beach?
…My wife and I did not raise four sons with the idea that three of them would have a certain set of rights but our gay child would be left out. We raised them to be hardworking, proud and loyal Americans. And they all did good.
(video via EqualityMaine)
This hit me hard around the 2:00 mark. ”What do you think I voted for at Omaha Beach?” It’s not just what he says, it’s how he says it. The little crack in his voice. It’s all very matter-of-fact up to that point, where it’s suddenly clear just how much this man means it, how much he feels it. I know I’m not the only one moved to tears by this.