Mary Jackson inspired many Black women to enter the aeronautical engineering space and break barriers.
She became NASA’s first female engineer at a time when stuff like that didn’t happen.
And recently, she finally earned the widespread recognition she deserved thanks to Hidden Figures.
This film shed light on NASA’s Black women pioneers.
So, let’s look at all the awesome stuff Mary Jackson did in her life.
She Pioneered Wind Tunnel Experiments
Mary Jackson was among the major contributors to NASA, and one of her most significant contributions was her work on wind tunnel experiments.
Jackson’s experiments helped NASA to understand aerodynamics and how spacecraft and aircraft operated under different conditions.
The engineer’s insights helped shape the direction of several NASA projects, keeping the country at the cutting edge of aerospace innovation.
Mary Jackson Was A Mentor And Advocate
Jackson was a driven technical genius.
However, she didn’t keep her knowledge to herself.
Instead, she inspired the next generation of Black youths through various programs encouraging them to explore science and engineering careers.
Thanks to Jackson’s selfless drive, many mentees established successful STEM careers.
She Was A Lead Researcher On Supersonic Flight
Jackson is among the scientists we have to thank for supersonic flight.
Breaking the sound barrier was a significant hurdle for most scientists.
However, Jackson took on that challenge and developed game-changing insights.
Thanks to her research contributions, the country successfully developed high-speed aircraft that keep the United States at the forefront of aviation technology.
She Championed Equal Opportunities
Mary Jackson understood the immense barriers women and minorities faced in fields like STEM.
So, she championed equal opportunity initiatives while working at NASA.
Thanks to Jackson’s efforts, NASA implemented various policies that promoted inclusion and diversity.
This ensured they hired staff based on their qualifications, not their appearance.
She Received Several Accolades
Unsurprisingly, Mary Jackson received different honors and awards.
Her numerous accolades include:
- Apollo Group Achievement Award, 1969
- National Council of Negro Women, Inc. Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Service to the Community
- Daniels Alumni Award for Outstanding Service to Disadvantaged Youth
- Distinguished Service Award for her work with the Combined Federal Campaign representing Humanitarian Agencies, 1972
- Langley Research Center Outstanding Volunteer Award, 1975
- Langley Research Center Volunteer of the Year, 1976
- Iota Lambda Sorority Award for the Peninsula Outstanding Woman Scientist, 1976
- King Street Community Center Outstanding Award
- National Technical Association’s Tribute Award, 1976
- Hampton Roads Chapter “Book of Golden Deeds” for Service
- Langley Research Center Certificate of Appreciation, 1976–1977
- Congressional Gold Medal, 2019
In 2019, NASA posthumously renamed its Washington, D.C., headquarters after her.
Mary Jackson’s Legacy Is Undeniable
From her early days to her significant contributions to NASA, Jackson is an inspiring testament to determination, courage, and self-belief.
Her legacy reminds us that we can overcome any obstacle.