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.
Hertha Ayrton was a British engineer, physicist, mathematician, and inventor. She is remembered for her work on electric arcs and ripple marks in sand and water, for which she was awarded the Hughes Medal by the Royal Society. As a woman in the 19th century, she had to face innumerable struggles in her career. She was also a passionate suffragist.
Vilma Espín Guillois was a Cuban revolutionary, chemical engineer, and feminist. She is best remembered as an adamant feminist who helped organize a vanguard revolutionary organization called 26th of July Movement, which later became a political party. Vilma Espín also helped establish the Federation of Cuban Women. She also advocated equal rights for women in all aspects of life.
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.
While she gained recognition with the folk metal band Eluveitie, which she joined at age 16, Swiss musician Anna Murphy later also led the 3-member folk rock band Cellar Darling. Born to opera singer parents, she was never a stranger to music. Proficient in hurdy-gurdy, she also plays the flute at times.
Marie Bashir created history when she became the first female governor of New South Wales. A doctor, too, she was initially associated with children’s hospitals and later focused on psychiatry. She also worked for the mentally ill and homeless people from the Aboriginal community of Australia.
Graphic designer Margaret Calvert has created quite a name for herself, working with Jock Kinneir on projects such as the design of the road-signing system of the UK. She has also worked on signs at railway stations and airports, and the typeface on the website of the UK government.
Florence Devouard is a French engineer who served as the chair of the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation from 2006 to 2008. Since July 2008, Devouard has been serving on the advisory board of the Wikimedia Foundation. Devouard is also credited with co-founding Wikimedia France for which she received a knighthood in the French National Order of Merit.
While she initially studied engineering, Claire Barratt later gained fame as an industrial archaeologist. She has a degree in conservation of industrial heritage. She also has a parallel career as a TV presenter and has been part of shows such as Salvage Squad and Britain's Secret Treasures.
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.
Aleksandra Pivec is a Slovenian politician and chemical engineer. She is best known for her service as the Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia from 13 March 2020 to 5 October 2020. A prominent politician, Aleksandra Pivec also served as the Minister of Agriculture from 13 September 2018 to 15 October 2020.
A qualified civil engineer, Ethiopian politician Aisha Mohammed Mussa is the country’s current minister of irrigation and lowland areas development. She has previously led the country as its first female defense minister and has also been Ethiopia’s minister of urban development and construction.
Carolina Cosse is a Uruguayan politician and engineer best known for her service as the Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining from March 2, 2015 to January 23, 2019. She also served as the Senator of Uruguay for nine months in 2020. Carolina Cosse is currently serving as Intendant of Montevideo.