Black History Month: Honouring The Engineers That Inspired The Next Generation
Engineers have paved the way toward advances in all sciences. For example, it’s nearly impossible to imagine how we would have survived the Covid-19 lockdown without online delivery, Zoom, and of course, software’s influence on testing and vaccine distribution.
But there is no doubt that the industry still has a long way to go for inclusivity both in the UK and the US.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of the men, women, and essential events in the history of Black people. It takes place throughout October in the UK but in February in the US and Canada.
We take a look at the engineers in the technology, and science industries and those inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs – both past and present.
Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock
Ms. Aderin-Pocock was named as part of the top 10 most influential Black Britons in 2016 for her work as a space scientist.
She has been the lead scientist for the optical instrumentation group for Astrium, an aerospace manufacturer subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company.
Dr. Poccok has been the lead scientist for the optical instrumentation group for Astrium, an aerospace manufacturer subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company.
Mr. Caldwell is the VP of engineering at Twitter, overseeing a 700 person team responsible for consumer experiences. As a corporate board member, he also recently joined HubSpot, a publicly-traded company specializing in CRM.
Previously he was Chief Product and Engineering Officer at Looker (acquired by Google) and VP of Engineering at Reddit.
Diallo is a software developer by trade in the Republic of California. He got his first computer when he was five, which triggered a lifelong passion for programming.
He has worked as a software engineer in the US for 12 years and, in 2018, wrote a much-read blog about how he was fired by a machine.
As an engineering student at Vanderbilt University in the 1980s, Kimberly Bryant has previously said she felt isolated. However, when her daughter reached college-age, she realized things had not improved despite living in the Bay Area, where they saw very few suitable options for a Woman of Color in tech.
That’s when Bryant founded Black Girls Code, a non-profit designed to encourage black girls to enter the sciences and tech fields by teaching them to code. In 2014, Bryant was named among the Top 25 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology.
I’m sure everyone that’s watched the movie ‘Hidden Figures’ will now know of Mary Jackson. NASA’s Mary Jackson is among the most famous software engineers in history. Jackson became NASA’s first black female engineer, and she helped propel Americans to the moon.
Her journey first began as a young woman, where she began her aerospace career in 1951 at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which became NASA in 1958.
She worked under Dorothy Vaughaun, who is also featured in the movie, in the segregated computing unit until she worked in the 4 foot by 4-foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel.
Her supervisor was so impressed he arranged special authorization for Jackson to study engineering in a previously segregated program, reported to Hack Reactor.