Katherine Johnson was born on August 26th, 1918. And grew up in a town called white sulfur springs in West Virginia. Katherine Johnson was a very good student. She even skipped a few grades. she was in high school at the age of thirteen. At eighteen she enrolled in college. And was the third African American to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. She graduated with the highest honor in 1937 and then took a job teaching at a black public school in Virginia.
In 1957 Katherine provided some math for the 1958 document notes on space technology. A compendium of a series 1958 lectures given by engineers in a flight research division and the pilotless aircraft division. Otherwise known as P.A.R.D. In 1962 as NASA was preparing for the launch of astronaut John Glenn. Katherine Johnson was called upon to do the work she would be most known for. She ran the numbers through a calculator and they came back correct but john glen was nervous so he wanted Katherine to go over them. And it was a good thing she did because the numbers had a few errors in them. She checked them all over and fixed the errors. And after that John Glen was on his way.
Katherine retired in 1986. She said “I loved going to work every single day.” In 2015, at the age of 97, Katherine Johnson added another extraordinary achievement to her long list: President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.