Born in Washington, D.C., I attended the segregated Dunbar High School (valedictorian!) and decided (dared!) to enter Smith College.
Graduating with a double major in mathematics and physics, I shifted to graduate study at Yale University, writing a dissertation on functional analysis in the complex domain...making me one of the first African-American women to earn a Ph.D.
Wanting to teach mathematics, I was rejected as an applicant in New York City due to both my gender and race...so I became an associate professor at the all-black Fisk University.
Two years of teaching was enough...so I moved on to work as an applied mathematician at Diamond Ordnance Fuse Laboratories, specializing in the development of missile fuses while also becoming interested in applications of computer programming.
This led to a work at IBM on the Project Vanguard and Project Mercury space programs, analyzing orbits and developing computer procedures....“the most interesting job of my lifetime.”
From IBM, I moved to become a Research Specialist with the Space and Information Systems Division of the North American Aviation Company...and then back to IBM, working on trajectory analysis and orbit computation.
When IBM cut its staff back, I shifted to teaching mathematics again at California State University in Los Angeles and later the University of Texas at Tyler.
I am one of three African-American women honored by the National Academy of Science.
When asked to summarize my major accomplishments, I wrote: "First of all, showing that women can do mathematics...Being an African American woman, letting people know that we have brains too."
Evelyn Boyd Grancille (1924 - )