AUGUST 9, 1908

CHEROKEE MARY G. ROSS BORN—FIRST NATIVE AMERICAN ENGINEER

Born in Park Hill, Oklahoma, descendant of Chief John Ross, Mary’s Bachelor’s degree came from Northeastern State Teachers College.  She taught math & science, clerked, and was girl’s advisor at Institute of American Indian Art, Santa Fe, before earning a Master’s degree in math at Univ. of Northern Colorado.  In 1942, she worked with Lockheed engineers on the P-38 Lightning fighter.  In 1952, after becoming an engineer, Lockheed assigned her to the “Skunk Works,” a secret engineering crew that later consulted with NASA.  In the 1960s, as a senior engineer, she worked on Poseidon & Trident missiles.  Retiring in 1973, Mary recruited Native American students to the field.  A member of the Society of Women Engineers, she supported the American Indian Science & Engineering Society and Council of Energy Resource Tribes and the National Museum of the American Indian.  Ross is depicted on the 2019 Native American $1 Coin.  She died in Los Altos, California, April 29, 2008.

Source:  Kara Briggs, “Cherokee Rocket Scientist Leaves Heavenly Gift,” Cherokee Phoenix, 12/18/2018.  Retrieved 6/7/2020, https://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/2470
Coin:  U.S. Mint, 11/30/2018.  Reverse of the 2019 Native American Dollar coin, designed by Emily Damstra and sculpted by Joseph Menna.  Public Domain.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: