During Black History Month, Busy Bees learned about the brilliant scientist and engineer Mary Jackson. Mary Jackson was born in 1921 in Virginia, USA. She graduated from an all black training school and earned a degree in mathematics and physical science. She tutored high school and college students at segregated schools before working for what is now know as NASA and started working in a segregated section as a human computer.
Her scientific and Math knowledge and expertise were noticed in 1953 by the lead engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki, but to be accepted by the engineering team she petitioned to be accepted at an all white night school to complete extra training in maths and physics. This she successfully did and became the first female, black NASA engineer in 1958.
She continued to work as an engineer at NASA until she retired in 1985. Throughout her career at NASA she fought for equal opportunities for women and minorities.
The children in class looked at a picture of Mary Jackson at work and we questioned and discussed what she was doing and who she was. There were lots of predictions based on what she was wearing and doing. Some thought she could be a chef as she wore a white coat, some thought she was writing a list and some thought she was a doctor or scientist. We talked about her life and how unfair it was that she had to argue to be allowed to go to school and study to be an engineer because of the colour of her skin and that she was a woman. In celebration of her work at NASA we made space rockets and talked about what jobs we would like to do when we grow up.