In the 1940s, it was rare to see a Black woman on an Ivy League campus. However, Evelyn Boyd Granville defied all odds as a student at Yale University. Granville went on to graduate with a Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1949, thus becoming the second Black woman to bag such a degree from an American University.
Granville once worked as an applied mathematician in a lab before going on to work with IBM. At IBM, she worked as a Computer Programmer and helped develop software using a programming language called SOAP. Evelyn was on the team of people that developed computer procedures and orbit computations that were used in NASA’s Projects Vanguard and Mercury.
After working with IBM, she worked as a research specialist at North American Aviation Company. Granville used her math skills to provide orbital and trajectory analysis for NASA’s Apollo program. She eventually moved into academia in 1967 and taught mathematics and computer programming until her retirement in 1984. She also became a STEM careers advocate, where she fiercely supports women to date.
Evelyn Boyd Granville has honorary doctorate degrees from Lincoln University, Yale University, and Spelman University. She received the National Association of Mathematics Golden Anniversary Legacy Award in 2019.
Evelyn Boyd Granville Legacy
Despite facing racial and gender discrimination throughout her life, Evelyn Boyd Granville continued to pursue her passion for mathematics and computer programming. Her work in the field of aerospace technology helped pave the way for future generations of women and people of color to pursue careers in STEM. Her legacy continues to inspire young students to this day, and she serves as a reminder that with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible.