HONORING DR. KATHERINE GOBLE JOHNSON FOR CONTRIBUTIONS DURING HER 33-YEAR CAREER AS AN AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGIST AT THE NASA LANGLEY RESEARCH CENTER IN HAMPTON, VA AND HER EFFORTS TO HELP AFRICAN-AMERICAN YOUTH ENTER SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL CAREERS
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Dr. Katherine Goble Johnson. Dr. Johnson, a retired 33-year employee of the NASA Langley Research Center is to be honored at a banquet on Saturday, October 29, 2011, and I would like to take a moment to recognize some of her numerous accomplishments.
Born in White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia, it was apparent from very early on that Dr. Johnson was driven to succeed. The local schools only offered classes to African Americans through the eighth grade, so Dr. Johnson's father enrolled her and her siblings in a school 125 miles from their home. Taking full advantage of this educational opportunity, Dr. Johnson graduated high school at the age of 14. Dr. Johnson then went on to study at West Virginia State College, now West Virginia University. In 1937 at the age of 18, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with majors in Mathematics and French. She continued her education at West Virginia University with further studies in Mathematics and Physics.
Dr. Johnson began her career in education as a teacher, a job that she held for seven years. She eventually relocated to Newport News where, in 1953, Dr. Johnson began her work at the NASA Langley Research Center, where she would go on to have a great impact on studies relating to various projects over the course of her career.
When hired in 1953, like almost all women at NASA, Dr. Johnson was hired to perform technical calculations. Women of African American heritage were typically assigned to all black ''computer pools.'' Within weeks of her entry in the NASA ranks, Dr. Johnson was asked to temporarily assist in the Spacecraft Dynamics Branch in the Flight Dynamics and Control Division. She never returned to her ''computer pool.''
Dr. Johnson went on to help calculate the trajectories flown by the 1969 Apollo spacecraft that landed on the moon and to coauthor 21 NASA reports and professional conference papers at a time when those who performed calculations were typically not named as participants. According to Dr. Johnson, even after computers began to be used to calculate the orbits of Mercury capsules, John Glenn called on her to verify the computers' calculations.
Throughout the course of her career, Dr. Johnson has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the NASA Lunar Orbiter Achievement Award, the NASA Apollo Team Group Achievement Award, three NASA Special Achievement Awards, an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the State University of New York, honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Capitol College and Old Dominion University, and she was honored by the National Technical Association as ''Mathematician of the Year'' in 1997.
Dr. Johnson has also been featured in various ''Who's Who'' lists throughout her career. She has been honored in the Philadelphia Electric Company's Exhibit honoring 24 black inventors and scientists at the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Museum, the Department of Energy's ''Black Contributor's to Science and Energy Technology'' list, and Time Life's Series entitled African-Americans: Voices in Triumph Leadership Volume.
A member and leader of many organizations, Dr. Johnson has served as Treasurer of the National Technical Association both on the local and national level, as President of the of the Lambda Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and as a Trustee and Elder at Carver Memorial Presbyterian Church in Newport News, Virginia, where she continues to be a dedicated member.
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to recognize and commend Dr. Katherine Goble Johnson today for her service to the United States, to her community, and to the Commonwealth of Virginia.