Achievement House BLOG

During Black History Month celebrate successful African Americans who are leaders in the maker movement, IT and STEM world! How did they get there? How can you? Let’s take a look at a few key African American’s who advanced the STEM industry and made their mark on the world.

Sarah E. Goode is the definition of a maker – and was the first African American woman to receive a patent in the US in 1885. With no formal higher education, Sarah was a mother of six children living in Virginia. At a time when many people lived in small homes, Sarah designed and invented a folding cabinet bed, designed for not only storage, but could expand to a bed. Her husband, a self described stair maker and upholsterer sold the invention in his furniture store.

At the age of 15, Elijah McCoy traveled to Scotland to become an apprentice and study mechanical engineering where he later became certified in the field. He never received a formal diploma, but become a key contributor in the creation of automatic lubricants for steam engines and locomotives. Before his death in 1929, McCoy continued to invent, applying for 57 patents including original ideas for lawn sprinklers and a folding ironing board.

Philadelphia native Guion Bluford graduated from Overbrook HS in 1960. To fulfill his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, Bluford attended Penn State University and studied Aerospace Engineering before entering the US Air Force. He logged over 6,500 hours as a fighter pilot before being selected by NASA in 1979 to join the astronaut training program where he would study to become a mission specialist and became the first African American in space in 1983.

Stephanie C. Hill is a computer engineer and current Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin.  During her 27 year engineering career, she has been a vocal advocate in promoting STEM education. She joined Lockheed Martin as an entry level software engineer and has grown with the company assuming positions with increased responsibility and leadership roles during her career. HIll grew up in Baltimore and graduated with a BS in Computer Science & Economics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She was named 2014’s Black Engineer of the Year at the annual BEYA STEM conference, which honors those who significantly contribute to the field.

Are you interested in STEM education? Computer Science? Think you have what it takes to be a future app inventor? Check out Achievement House’s Innovation Academy courses and discover your passion! 


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