Today’s (August 9) Google Doodle is dedicated to Mary G. Ross, the first Native American woman to work as an engineer in the United States. Per Google’s post, the Cherokee woman was born on this day in 1908. She started her career as a math and science teacher, then channeled her love for rocket science and astronomy into a master’s degree in mathematics from Colorado State College of Education (now called University of Northern Colorado) and a certification in aeronautical engineering, which she earned from UCLA.

Ross worked as a stasticial clerk with the Bureau of Indian Affairs before moving to Lockheed Martin Corporation, where she used her talents to develop concept designs for satellites and interplanetary space travel to Venus and Mars. Via her work with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, the Council of Energy Resource Tribes and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Ross encouraged Indigenous people to pursue careers in math and engineering, and SWE established an endowed scholarship in her honor that assists women in STEM.

Her nephew, Jeff Ross, on Ross’ legacy:  

The Ross family is excited that Google has chosen Mary G. Ross for a Doodle on her 110th birthday. A proud Cherokee woman and the great-great granddaughter of Chief John Ross, Mary is an excellent role model for young women and American Indians everywhere. Her accomplishments are a testament to her determination and love for education. Our hope as a family is that her story inspires young people to pursue a technical career and better the world through science.