Science and the Importance of Women Role Models

When we remember the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, we traditionally recall President John F. Kennedy’s call for America to accomplish the challenging feat of reaching the moon and the tumultuous political landscape of the ’60s, but we don’t often think about the woman behind getting humanity to our closest celestial neighbor: Margaret Hamilton. Margaret Hamilton is a mathematician, systems engineer, owner and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, and computer scientist who was one of the pioneers for women in STEM and is considered the mother of software. From bringing her four-year-old daughter to the laboratory to inventing the Universal System Language (USL–a unique modeling language which designs complex systems) and from rising above criticism that questioned her capability as both a mother and a scientist to breaking the limits of what was digitally feasible in the future, Margaret Hamilton was a trail blazer of her era and repudiated the stereotypes that women who were scientists were subject to in her generation and — to an extent — are subject to even today.

Although I am in the early stages of my journey, I have sometimes felt as though I am the only person my age working to promote girls’ education and entrepreneurship one initiative at a time. Because I know this is not true, I strive to bring together other girls who have felt the way I have and who strive to alter the representation of women in STEM. This is part of the reason I value Margaret Hamilton so much. I strive to one day hopefully contribute as much as she has to the field of technology, and I strive to continue her legacy — and the legacies of various other women who have been pioneers in a field still dominated by men — by aiming to become a trail blazer and break down barriers as she has done for future generations of women in STEM. It is because of women like Margaret Hamilton that I won’t be the first female to lead a team of engineers working on a landmark government project and break the glass ceiling of women becoming scientists and researchers. I also understand the importance of introducing science and engineering to young children as the backbone for the future of technology, and I strive to delve into the ever-expanding fields of STEM and pave the way for the next generation of female entrepreneurs, similar to how Margaret Hamilton has paved the way for women such as myself.