Black History Month: Dorothy Vaughn

Working as a mathematician and human computer at NASA’s Langley Research Center, Dorothy Jean Johnson Vaughn became the first African-American woman to receive a promotion and supervise a group of staff at the center and was later promoted to supervisor.

During her 28-year career Vaughn prepared for the introduction of electronic computing in the 60s by teaching herself and her staff Fortran, an early programming language.

Vaughn is one of the women featured in the book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly and the film of the same name.

In 2019, Vaughan was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously.

Photo Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.