Former NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy captain Lisa Nowak was part of the STS-121 mission. She made headlines when she apparently attempted to kidnap Air Force captain Colleen Shipman, who was getting into a relationship with astronaut William Oefelein, who had previously dated Nowak. Nowak was subsequently dismissed from NASA.
Credited with coining the term software engineering, computer scientist and systems engineer, Margaret Heafield Hamilton served as the Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, overseeing the development of the on-board flight software for NASA's Apollo program. A prolific writer, she is also the founder of two software companies; Higher Order Software and Hamilton Technologies.
Born in Taiwan, Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD, moved to the US at age 3. Lisa eventually earned a PhD in electrical engineering from MIT. Named to the Forbes America’s Self-Made Women 2020 list, she is also the first woman recipient of the IEEE Robert Noyce Medal.
Judith Resnik was an American software engineer, electrical engineer, pilot, biomedical engineer, and NASA astronaut. She was the fourth woman and the first Jewish woman in space, logging 145 hours in orbit. Resnik, who died during the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986, received several posthumous honors. Judith Resnik’s life and career inspired the 1990 TV movie Challenger.
Apart from being a socialite, Emily Warren Roebling was also a skilled engineer. She took over the reins of designing the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband, the chief engineer of the project, Washington Augustus Roebling, was rendered bedridden. She went against the grain and earned a law certificate, too.
Ellen Ochoa is an American engineer and classical flautist. A former astronaut, Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman in space. In 2012, she became the first Hispanic director of Johnson Space Center. Ochoa has won several prestigious awards including NASA's Distinguished Service Medal and Space Flight Medals. In 2017, she was inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame.
One of the first female engineers in the US, Nora Stanton Blatch Barney was also a leading suffragist and the granddaughter of women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She was also the first woman to graduate in engineering from Cornell and sued the ASCE for denying her a full-membership.
Known as successful businesswoman, Catherine Anselm Gleason had many firsts to her credit. The first woman to study engineering at Cornell University, she later became the first female to become receiver of a bankrupt company and successfully restored it. Later, she also became the first female president of a national bank, and member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Olive Dennis was an American engineer whose innovations played a huge role in making railways what it is today. The first female member to become a part of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA), Olive Dennis is credited with introducing comforts, such as stain-resistant upholstery, ceiling lights, and air-conditioned compartments in passenger cars.
Elmina Wilson was an American civil engineer best known as the first American female to successfully complete a four-year degree in civil engineering. Wilson then went on to become the first female professor to work and teach engineering at the prestigious Iowa State University (ISU) after receiving the first master's degree in civil engineering.