In honor of Women’s History Month, this will be the first in a series of posts on women in science and engineering. As a woman engineer myself, and later as a technical editor and writer, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and interviewing a number of remarkable women in science and engineering whose achievements equal those of their political, artistic and pedagogical counterparts.
Today I’d like to highlight the first woman engineer I ever covered—in an article I wrote for The Orbiter, employee newsletter of The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo, Calif.
Woman Engineer Dr. Roberta J. Nichols Credit: The Aerospace Corp.
The year was 1985, and Dr. Roberta J. Nichols, a former employee and Aerospace Woman of the Year, had been invited back to speak during the company’s annual Women’s Week celebration.
Working with her Dad
Nichols’ story may sound typical of many women engineers of that era. According to the LA Times, she was born in 1931 and grew up following her father around to junkyards and learning to weld as they fixed up old cars together. Later, her hobbies included dragboat, hydroplane and vintage car racing. Happily, she was able to carry over these passions into her professional life. Continue reading