Degree(s): Math, Public Administration
Undergraduate Institution: Virginia State College (now University) (HBCU)
Graduate Institution: Virginia State College (now University) (HBCU), University of Oklahoma, Virginia Tech
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Dr. Gladys West is a mathematician who led the development of the global positioning systems (GPS) that is currently used in cars and phones. Upon graduation from Virginia State, Dr. West began her career with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, where she analyzed satellite data by hand. She later programmed computers to model the Earth’s shape. Dr. West earned her Ph.D. following retirement after 42 years of service with the Naval Surface Weapons Center.
Fun Fact: Dr. West is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. It was only after she submitted information about her work on the development of the modern GPS that her accomplishments were finally recognized by the United States Military as a “hidden figure” in military history.