Women’s History Month: Developing the Foundations for Modern Technology

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Last month we talked about the African American women who changed the face of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, despite adversity and oppression. Since March 1st marks the start of Women’s History Month, we are going to continue our acknowledgement of the women behind the modern technological age. We discussed the pioneers Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper in a previous blog post (which you can read here) but there is a long list of women who have come after them who have created their own legacy in STEM. If there is someone missing from this list, feel free to add them in the comments!

Susan Kare
When you think of Apple, most likely you’ll picture Steve Jobs or Steve Wozniak. Or maybe the first image that comes to mind will be the computer itself, a large and heavy object with a screen the size of a notepad. However, one of the names that you might not recognize is Susan Kare. Behind the scenes, she was in charge of developing the typography and iconic graphics for the launch of the original Apple Macintosh computer. Many of the interface elements that have become common in their products were designed by Kare, like the command symbol on their keyboard. Remember the “Happy Mac” that greeted you when you booted up your system? That was Susan Kare’s design!

Hedy Lamarr
You might not know Hedy Lamarr’s acting career, but you have definitely used her invention in your daily life now. She conceptualized the first ideas for frequency hopping (sending radio signals from different frequency channels). The basis for the idea was to help the Navy launch torpedos through remote control, and block communications from being interfered with. Despite the fact that this technology would have been way ahead of its time, the Navy was not interested and passed on the invention. However, Lamarr’s design would find its use in the 1950’s when the concept was used for secure military communications. This new use paved the way for Hedy Lamarr’s concept to become the foundation for modern Bluetooth and Wifi technology.

Roberta Williams
When videogames became popular in the 1980’s, the at-home console was a huge seller and brands like Atari took the market by storm. However there was a revolution coming and Roberta Williams was one of its leaders. It was her creation “King’s Quest” that would create the market for PC gaming. Her company Sierra On-Line would help to shape the future of video games with their more complex puzzle designs and storylines. Games that take the main character on a quest before they can compete against a final “boss” are inspired by her original design.

Radia Perlman
A member of the Internet Hall of Fame, Radia Perlman designed the spanning tree algorithm that transformed Ethernet from single-wire CSMA/CD into a protocol that can handle large information clouds. She also designed Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL), which allows Ethernet to make optimal use of bandwidth. Perlman holds over 100 patents and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Unisex and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication. She holds BS and MS degrees in Mathematics from MIT, and completed her PhD in Computer Science through MIT as well.

Kimberly Bryant (Black Girls Code)
After earning her degree in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University, and a successful career in the bay area near San Francisco, Bryant decided to dedicate her life to helping more African American women achieve their dreams in STEM. She founded Black Girls Code in 2011 to bring classes and workshops to her community that focused on helping underrepresented girls learn computer programming, coding, website development, and robotics. Her foundation now had chapters in seven states, and across the globe in Johannesburg, South Africa, and even offers programs in Spanish! To learn more about her organization and all of their community work visit: www.blackgirlscode.com

Sister Mary Kenneth Keller
Though she was a devout nun her whole life, Sister Mary Kenneth Keller was the first woman in the United States to earn a PhD in Computer Science. She entered into the convent in 1932, and earned her BS in Mathematics and her MS in Physics from DePaul University. However, it was during her time studying at Dartmouth College in the 1960s that she developed the BASIC computer language which made it possible for anyone to write custom code. Suddenly developers didn’t need to have a mathematics or science degree to be able to code their own programs. Keller’s dissertation, written in CDC FORTRAN 63, was titled “Inductive Inference on Computer Generated Patterns.” In 1965, she became the first American woman to earn a PhD in Computer Science. She envisioned a future of computers that would help teach and stimulate cognitive development for all.

Carol Shaw
Considered the first female professional video game designer, Carol Shaw worked for the Atari company programming games for the VCS console before leaving to work for Activision. The now famous River Raid game for the Atari 2600 was her design and is considered to be one of the best examples of game design in history. However, even though she was an equal member of the team, she still faced discrimination, even from the President of Atari. During a walk through, he remarked “Oh, at last! We have a female game designer. She can do cosmetics color matching and interior decorating cartridges!” You can read more about her life in game development on the Vintage Computing Website.

Adele Goldberg
A prominent software developer, Adele Goldberg is one of the designers of the SmallTalk-80 programming language. While working at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) she would become the manager of the System Concepts Laboratory where her team would finish the SmallTalk-80 program. She served as president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) from 1984 to 1986, and, together with Alan Kay and Dan Ingalls, received the ACM Software Systems Award in 1987. Many of the concepts she and her team developed at PARC became the basis for graphically based user interfaces, replacing the earlier command line based systems.

There are thousands more women who have made great strides in technology development who also deserve recognition on this list. This month, take the opportunity to learn more about the extraordinary women who have made history in STEM. You can tell us about them here in the comments!

 

 

The first degree conferred by Coleman University (then the Automation Institute) was to a woman, for Data Processing in 1964. It has been our mission since we were first established to ensure that all of our students have equal access to education, and resources to pursue their passion to turn their ‘Dreams Into Reality’. What could you do with a degree in Software Development, Cybersecurity, or Game Development from Coleman University?

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Hispanic Influence in Science and Technology

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As part of our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month we want to acknowledge those who have influenced and changed the world of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) for the better. Did you know that four Nobel prizes have been awarded to Hispanic scientists? There are many more scientific and technological advancements attributed to Hispanic pioneers and many more future achievements to come. Here are just a few of the important names in science and technology that you should know:

Ellen Ochoa: Born in California, Ochoa became a research engineer at NASA in 1988 for the Ames Research Center. In 1990 she was selected to be an astronaut and moved to the Johnson Space Center, where she would become the first Hispanic woman to go to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1993. She would travel to space four times over the course of her career and log almost 1,000 hours in orbit overall. She also happens to be an alumna of San Diego State University having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Physics! Through her work with NASA and the space program Ochoa has been awarded three patents for her inventions, and has been the author for several technical papers. A recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal and the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award, two of the highest honors at NASA, Ellen Ochoa has many incredible achievements on her resume.

 

Bernardo Alberto Houssey: Born in Buenos Aires Argentina, Bernardo Houssey is responsible for a major breakthrough in the research on, and treatment of, diabetes. An exceptionally smart young man, he entered the School of Pharmacy of the University of Buenos Aires at the age of 14 in 1904. It wasn’t long before he had graduated and moved on to earn his graduate degree in the Department of Physiology where he would begin to study hypophysis. He earned his M.D. by 1911 and would go on to become Professor of Physiology. He also worked for the National Department of Hygiene in charge of the Laboratory of Experimental Physiology and Pathology. He made a lifelong study of hypophysis and his most important discovery concerns the role of the anterior lobe of the hypophysis in carbohydrate metabolism and the onset of diabetes. He was awarded honorary degrees from twenty-five universities and the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1947.

 

Jaime Escalante: You may have already heard about the influential and passionate mathematics teacher Jaime Escalante, as his life efforts were honored on the big screen in the movie Stand and Deliver in 1988. A math teacher at Garfield, an East Los Angeles high school, in the 1908’s, Escalante was tasked with teaching calculus and advanced math in an area of Los Angeles that was labeled as a notorious barrio of only poor and minority groups. However, Escalante saw great potential in his students and created a tough campaign to bring advanced calculus to his school and help students prepare for the advanced placement exams. When outside groups only saw troublemakers, Escalante saw students who came to campus an hour early, stayed hours after school, and willingly worked together on Saturdays as well as in summer school. Unfortunately when 18 of his students took the advanced placement exams in 1982 and passed, they were accused of cheating. Escalante was adamant that this accusation was based in racist bias and eventually the students were allowed to retake the exam and passed a second time, proving that their hard work had paid off in the end. Towards the end of his career he had inspired over 600 students to not only become involved in advanced placement math, but in many other subjects as well. His teaching methods were not always conventional, but his legacy as a teacher will remain as an important moment in Hispanic history.

Hispanic Heritage Month is meant to celebrate the achievements that have come from the expansive Hispanic culture. The world of science and technology will never be the same because of these innovators and passionate learners. Join us in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at Coleman University!

 

If you are interested in starting on the path to a successful career in technology, call us for information about our degree programs. Classes start every ten weeks (Graduate classes start every five weeks), and we offer flexible scheduling! Call (858) 499-0202 to speak to an Admissions representative Monday through Thursday from 8:00am-6:00pm, and Fridays from 8:00am-3:00pm.

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Coleman University Students are Chosen as Semi-finalists in Robotics Development Competition for Mars Exploration!

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Chase Thurmond (top right) is leading the ENVI team, along with Coleman students Hao Yu and Anthony Anderson (far left), in their autonomous robot project for Mars exploration. This team will be working on this throughout the spring in order to meet the summer 2017 due date.

Technology is not a static field; it changes daily, hourly, and minute by minute. Technology development isn’t even restricted by Earthly aspirations; developers are now looking to the skies again as their next target. Unmanned ground vehicles have become the latest topic for development and putting these autonomous droids on Mars is no longer just a dream. In early 2017 the Mars City Design Competition put out a call for student teams around the world and across the nation to submit their ideas for an autonomous robot or program that centers on the theme of “transportation” that could be used to help colonize Mars. Applicants had to submit a video explaining their project and what they felt it could contribute to Mars exploration, as well as a breakdown of how they would build their project and what materials they would use. Students from Coleman University, with the help of the expert engineers at ENVI, and lead by student Chase Thurmond, submitted the ENVI design for an autonomous and cooperative robot flock.  The ENVI team, hosted at Coleman University, was chosen as a semi-finalist!! Out of 135 applications, this project and its team of developers were chosen to be one of just 15 teams competing for the chance to see their projects come to life this summer and possibly become part of the race to Mars! Teams from all over the world including France, the UK, and South America are in this competition, vying for the top spot and global recognition as a leading developer in Mars exploration. Students from our Software Development, Cybersecurity, and Graduate Studies Program came together to build the first engineering concept for a cooperative “flock” of unmanned land robots that would essentially become the eyes and hands of astronauts or colonists living and working on Mars. The overall goal of Mars City Design is to promote the development of sustainable and efficient tools for a successful living community not just on Mars, but on future planets yet to be discovered and explored. The semi-finalists chosen for this project will be presenting a teaser of their design and vision at a fundraiser in Los Angeles on May 25th. We at Coleman University want to congratulate the students who took interest in an extracurricular opportunity to put this project into motion, and the dedicated team at ENVI who are mentoring them through this journey. We look forward to seeing the finished product! You can find more information on the other designs, previous winners, and track to competition from their website: https://marscitydesign.com/news.

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