Two weeks after reading an article on twin sisters working as human computers, Annie Easley began a career in 1955 as a ‘human computer’, doing computations for researchers. This involved analyzing problems and doing calculations by hand. In the face of discrimination, her motto was “[I]f I can’t work with you, I will work around you.”
She helped break down barriers for women and people of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) fields. As a computer scientist, she inspired many through her participation in outreach programs.
Her mother’s advice, “You can be anything you want to be, but you have to work at it,” helped her make the switch to computers and also get a math degree in the 1970s while working full time at NASA on a project examining damage to the ozone layer.