Webinology’s Throwback Thursday Honors Women’s History Month and a Pioneer of Technology at NASA, Annie J. Easley

Author: [Stephanie Q. McGrath]
Due Date: [2/14/21]

Annie J. Easley, Computer Scientist, NASA

Join us at Webinology in honoring a pioneer of technological women’s history, Annie Easley.

  • Annie Easley had an illustrious career with NASA spanning 34 years.
  • Annie worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) at the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio, currently the NASA Glenn Research Center.
  • Beginning as a “human computer,” Annie became a computer programmer at NASA.
  • One of only four African Americans at the lab, Annie broke barriers and inspired women and African Americans in America.

Annie Easly and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)

After moving to Cleveland with her husband, Annie Easley was looking for work as were many Americans of her time. Annie read an article about sisters who were working as “human computers” for NASA and it changed her life. A short time later she started her career as a “human computer” for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA); later, this agency would be renamed the NASA Glenn Research Center. Annie began a career as a “human computer,” doing computations for researchers; these computations are done by analyzing complex problems mathematically; this was done by hand, running simulations to develop solutions to complex issues related to the space program.

Only four African American employees and a few women were employed at the lab during a period of time in our society that was particularly unequitable, she paved the way for other technicians and programmers to study STEM technologies. Over an impressive 34 years, Annie evolved with technology, easily adapting to work as a computer programmer, using the Formula Translating System (Fortran) and the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to support several programs NACA.

Annie conceptualized, developed, and implemented code for researching energy-conversion systems and doing complex analyzing of alternative power technology. Among other things, Annie is credited with her work on battery technology used for early hybrid vehicles and the NASA Centaur upper-stage rocket.

Annie J. Easley, Computer Scientist, NASA

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