American mathematician and aerospace engineer Mary Jackson went down in history as the first African-American woman to work as a NASA engineer. Initially a math teacher, she later joined NACA under Dorothy Vaughan and contributed to countless American space programs at a time when racial segregation was the norm.
American mathematician Dorothy Vaughan was also known as a "human computer." Initially a math teacher, she became the first African-American supervisor of NACA, later part of NASA, at a time when racial segregation was rampant in the U.S. Her contribution to the early American space programs is invaluable.
Belgian-born physicist Ingrid Daubechies was a prodigy of sorts and had started dealing with complicated mathematical concepts before turning 6. She grew up to work at the AT&T Bell Laboratories and also taught at Princeton. She is best known for her research on wavelets and image-compression technology.