FAIRMONT — West Virginia recently celebrated Katherine Johnson Day, in honor of the NASA legend who is named after the NASA Independent Verification & Validation Facility.
Katherine Johnson was born on August 26, 1918, in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, and her intelligence and scientific curiosity were evident at an early age. She skipped several grades in school. By age 13, she was attending high school on the campus of what was then West Virginia State College.
At 18, she enrolled in college and quickly entered the school’s math program. In 1929, she was selected as one of the first black students to be offered places at the state’s flagship school, West Virginia University.
She would go on to play a vital role at NASA where she made some of the agency’s greatest advancements in space exploration.
His math skills were unmatched even by technology. In preparation for John Glenn’s orbital flight in 1962, he instructed engineers to “get the girl” – Johnson – to run the same numbers through equations that had been programmed into the computer, but by hand, on his office mechanical calculating machine.
“If she says they’re good,” Katherine Johnson recalls, “then I’m good to go.”
Johnson died in 2020 at the age of 101, but her legacy lives on, particularly at the Katherine Johnson IV&V Facility.
“Katherine Johnson was a true trailblazer and as a native of West Virginia and a graduate of West Virginia State University, it is an honor to have our program anchored in a physical facility in West Virginia that bears her name. “said program director Wes Deadrick. . “Frequently when I stop on University Drive and see her name on the front of our building, it reminds me of the challenges and adversity she faced and struggled to overcome on a daily basis. .”
Katherine Johnson Day coincides with Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the 1920 passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and recognizes past and ongoing work toward equality and equality. equity for women. Katherine Johnson is an important figure in women’s history and equality at NASA and the United States. She said, “Girls can do anything that men can do” and set an example for women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math and more. of the. .
“As Director of NASA’s IV&V Program, I am exceptionally proud of our program’s continued recognition of the impact Katherine Johnson has had on women’s equality and breaking down barriers to inclusion,” said Deadrick.