Katherine Coleman was a African American mathematician and computer scientist. Her calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and many more U.S. manned space flights for NASA. She was born on August 26, 1918 in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia in the United states. She was the first woman to ever get credit for her research report for her division. Katherine was married twice in her lifetime and had 3 daughters. She was the third African American to get her Ph.D in mathematics. She won many awards for her great accomplishments. She was the first African American to enroll in the mathematical program at her college. Her work was so important that she was mentioned in the movie Hidden Figures because her work was amazing and important they couldn’t do without her and needed her expertise.
Will the space program have gotten anywhere without Katherine Johnson? No! She was the expert in it all, when the planners who were over her in the space program got the numbers and statistics wrong she fixed it and got it right and saved the day. She was first introduced to mathematics when she was a little girl and started solving math equations. This talent came to her naturally. She was doing advanced classes in middle school because she was so intelligent. She had a great work ethic because her mom was a teacher and her father was a farmer. Katherine started highschool at the age 10 at West Virginia State High School. Katherine finished her high school education in four years.
After High school she went straight to college at West Virginia State College which is now West Virginia State University in Institute, West Virginia. Katherine earned her bachelor degree in mathematics and French from West Virginia State College. After Katherine moved and got a teaching job,but in 1939 she was picked to be in a graduate program at West Virginia University to be one of three African Americans. Katherine didn’t stay at that college long though because she married James Goble her first husband and they wanted to start a family so she had to leave college. Katherine and James Goble had 3 children together, but they stayed married for 17 years before he died of brain cancer in 1956. Three years after her husband James Goble died , she remarried to James Johnson her second husband.
On November 24, 2015 she was given the Presidential Medal Of Freedom by President Barack Obama because she showed she was worthy of it and inspired many people. She also had many other awards and dedications to her. Katerine also had a movie made about her called “Hidden Figures ”and the two other people Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. The movie Hidden Figure was about all of their struggles and problems. Katherine Johnson also have a research faculty named after her by NASA in her honors for the marvelous work done by her and her contributions to them and the faculty. On September 22, 2017 Katherine Johnson Computational Research Facility finally opened up at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton,VA.Katherine also got an award called the “Silver Snoopy Award” from a former Astronaut and NASA administrator of education Leland Melvin.
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