Katherine Johnson was awarded with the 2019 IEEE President’s Award

The following is a statement from Administrator Jim Bridenstine on the passing of NASA legend Katherine Johnson, who worked for the agency from 1953 to 1986.

NASA is deeply saddened by the loss of a leader from our pioneering days, and we send our deepest condolences to the family of Katherine Johnson. Ms. Johnson helped our nation enlarge the frontiers of space even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of color in the universal human quest to explore space. Her dedication and skill as a mathematician helped put humans on the moon and before that made it possible for our astronauts to take the first steps in space that we now follow on a journey to Mars. Her Presidential Medal of Freedom was a well-deserved recognition. At NASA we will never forget her courage and leadership and the milestones we could not have reached without her. We will continue building on her legacy and work tirelessly to increase opportunities for everyone who has something to contribute toward the ongoing work of raising the bar of human potential.” – nasa.gov

NASA mathematician, trailblazer in the quest for racial equality, contributor to our nation’s first triumphs in human spaceflight and champion of STEM education, Katherine G. Johnson stands among NASA’s most inspirational figures. Born Aug. 26, 1918, in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, Johnson went on to graduate from West Virginia State College with highest honors in 1937. After attending graduate school and working as a public school teacher, she was hired in 1953 by what today is known as NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, but then was called the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. She retired from the center in 1986. Johnson’s accomplishments at Langley were highlighted in the bestselling book “Hidden Figures,” and the hit movie of the same name. – nasa.gov

The 2019 President’s Award presented to Katherine G. Johnson for fundamental computational contributions to the success of America’s first and subsequent manned spaceflights, including Apollo 11. The 2019 IEEE President’s Award is sponsored by IEEE to recognize individuals, not necessarily members of IEEE, whose careers have exhibited distinguished leadership and contributions to the public.