The NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., has a new name: the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters. This is quite an honor for an amazing person.
“Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Jackson grew up in Virginia, where she graduated from Hampton Institute with a dual degree in math and physical sciences in 1942. She worked as a math teacher, a bookkeeper, and an Army secretary before starting her aerospace career with the agency that preceded NASA.
In 1951, Jackson was recruited to work in the segregated West Area Computing Unit of the Langley Research Center as a mathematician. These mathematicians were known as human computers!
Two years later, Jackson switched departments to get experience conducting experiments.
Her supervisor encouraged her to complete a training program so she could become an engineer. Jackson received special permission to join her peers in the then-segregated school and completed the courses. She became NASA’s first Black female engineer in 1958.
She worked hard and wrote numerous research reports. After 20 years, she joined Langley’s Federal Women’s Program and worked to help hire and promote the next generation of female mathematicians, engineers and scientists.
Jackson was one of the women featured in a popular book in 2016 that was made into the movie titled “Hidden Figures” the same year.
The newly named headquarters “appropriately sits on ‘Hidden Figures Way,’ a reminder that Mary is one of many incredible and talented professionals in NASA’s history who contributed to this agency’s success. Hidden no more, we will continue to recognize the contributions of women, African Americans and people of all backgrounds who have made NASA’s successful history of exploration possible,” said Bridenstine.
Arizona School Openings Postponed
Arizona teachers and students will have to wait a bit longer to return to their classrooms this year. Gov. Doug Ducey recently ordered the first day of school for in-person learning delayed until August 17.
Schools are still allowed to conduct distance (online) learning before that date. School districts are scrambling to find the best solution. The governor previously announced a $270 million plan to help the state’s public schools safely open at the beginning of the school year.
In addition to addressing schools’ reopening, Governor Ducey’s June 29 order also prohibits large gatherings and paused the operations of bars, gyms, indoor movie theaters, waterparks and tubing rentals until July 27.
The decision came as Arizona is seeing record numbers of new cases of COVID-19. The numbers increased in June, with a record-high of 4,323 new cases reported on June 24.
In total, Arizona more than 100,000 cases of the virus. People between the ages of 20–44 now make up about half of the cases in our state. Around the world, more than 11.5 million people have been infected and more than half a million deaths have been reported.
According to the Arizona Dept. of Health Services, the virus is thought to spread mostly between people who are close to each other. The good news is the agency also says there are effective ways to practice physical distancing and reduce the risk to yourself and others.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If that is not an option, use hand sanitizer. You should also avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, stay home when you are sick, avoid being within 6 feet of people you do not live with, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve, wear face coverings in public, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. For more information, visit azhealth.gov/coronavirus.