Discovery Place Science
Women have been at the forefront of several industry-changing advancements in computer technology for nearly 180 years – ever since Ada Lovelace wrote the first computer program in 1843.
The leading hub for science learning in the Carolinas, Discovery Place Science celebrates women’s contributions to computer science. From creating safer food products to detecting flaws in spacecraft, here are a few women in the computing field who are helping move technology forward in our communities and the world.
A local North Carolinian, Khalia Braswell is the founder of INTech Camp for Girls, a nonprofit organization in Charlotte that works to inform and inspire girls of color to innovate in the technology industry. INTech has served over 1,300 students in Charlotte and Raleigh. Braswell is working toward a Ph.D. in Education, focusing on broadening participation in computing among Black girls.
Alicia Kempf is an engineering manager for Honeywell Process Solutions who helps create manufacturing systems for pharmaceuticals, foods and chemicals – products we use every day! Her work helps to ensure safer products and more efficient manufacturing. One of Kempf’s recent projects, the Experion Process Knowledge System, allows for more flexible and resilient manufacturing processes.
Dr. Fatma Mili
Dr. Fatma Mili is the Dean of UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics. Dr. Mili works to create ethical computer scientists and helped launch UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing to become the largest in the state. During her tenure, the College of Computing has seen large gains in enrollment of students of color and women and in the college’s graduation rate.
Dr. Ellen Ochoa
Dr. Ellen Ochoa is the epitome of women reaching for the stars. She was the first Hispanic woman in space and worked at NASA creating optical systems. Dr. Ochoa’s work in information processing helped improve applications that allow computers to “see” what is in images. This process is used in manufacturing to detect flaws and in autonomous space vehicles to locate important artifacts.
Gladys West is a mathematician known for her work on the mathematical modeling of the shape of the Earth and satellite measurements that were incorporated into the Global Positioning System (GPS). West worked with the U.S. Navy for over 40 years developing GPS and other satellite systems, including a satellite named Seasat. Seasat was the first satellite design for sensing the Earth’s oceans.
We admire and thank these women for their work and dedication to advancing technology! Who do you admire in computer science? Let us know using #MyDiscoveryPlace on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.