When a new historical marker was unveiled in downtown Raleigh on September 22, 2023, a group of Meredith College students, alumnae, and faculty were on hand to celebrate.
The new marker, which now stands near the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, commemorates the women mathematicians who worked as “human computers” for the U.S. space program and military. Meredith College alumnae are among the women whose work is recognized with this new marker.
Students in Meredith’s Spring 2020 Public History course conducted research to identify Meredith alumnae and other North Carolinians who worked in these fields.
Associate Professor of History Angela Robbins spoke at a panel discussion that provided context for the new marker and explained Meredith College’s contributions.
“The new marker is the result of efforts by students in Meredith’s Spring 2020 Public History course. Under the leadership of my colleague Professor of History Dan Fountain, the students conducted research to identify Meredith alumnae and other North Carolinians who worked in these fields; they then completed the formal proposal for these contributions to be recognized on the state highway historical marker,” Robbins said. “Thanks to their efforts, the over 1 million visitors to the museum each year, including numerous children, will now have an introduction to this history and draw inspiration from North Carolina’s own ‘hidden figures.’”
Landt Smith, ’23, was one of the public history students who worked on the human computers research. She participated in unveiling the new marker, along with Robbins. Also at the ceremony were Morgan Johnson, ’20, a history major who now works at Meredith as a research librarian, and current students Elise Rammalaere, Wahalyn Francis, Eden Mshar, Laura Oppelaar, Charlotte Thomas, Sophia Bogan, and Emma Martin. (Shown in photo at right)
The unveiling ceremony was the final event in Meredith’s HIS/POL/IS + RES Week. The department-sponsored programs included a Constitution Day event, a National Voter Registration Day event, an alumnae panel, a Ukraine information session, and a Student Appreciation Day.