Mary Golda Ross Statue Unveiled in Oklahoma

Posted By PowWow Articles February 16th, 2022 Last Updated on: February 16th, 2022

Mary Golda Ross, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and engineer and trailblazer who made lasting contributions to the U.S. aerospace industry, was memorialized in her home state of Oklahoma at the First Americans Museum.

Mary Golda Ross is the first-known Native American female engineer, the first female engineer of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, and a founding member of Lockheed's legendary top-secret Skunk Works program. She's also one of our “20 Native American Women You Should Know.”

She contributed to the earliest studies of orbiting satellites, crewed Earth-orbit flights, and created preliminary designs for flyby missions to Mars and Venus. She dedicated herself to encouraging young women and Native students to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.

The statue marks a significant addition not only to Oklahoma City's First Americans Museum, but also to the Native American community and women everywhere.

As it stands, only 10 percent of public outdoor sculptures portray women. While there's still a long way to go in giving equal recognition to women's achievements, it's a step in the right direction.

Olay, the skin care company, unveiled the statue of Ross on Feb. 7, ahead of it going on public display on Feb. 23.

“Knowing young girls need to see themselves in these roles before they can dream of pursuing them, Mary's story will now inspire generations of women of all backgrounds to #FaceAnything and explore STEM careers,” Olay wrote in a statement, adding that the statue was part of its annual $1 million donation for the second year of its ten-year effort to close the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Mary Golda Ross Statue Plaque

“Mary encouraged everyone to seek education, because no one can ever take that from you. She pushed people to continuously better themselves and create their own opportunities through hard work and perseverance,” Ross' family said in a statement released by Olay and the Mary Golda Ross Trust. “This statue will remind the public of what is possible when they believe in themselves and push to break through glass ceilings.”

The statue commemorating Mary Golda Ross was developed with input from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to ensure the statue is historically accurate. 

“Although much of her work remains classified, she is recognized as an important contributor to the 20th-century aerospace technologies and interplanetary exploration,” the plaque at the base of her new statue reads. “In Ross' words, ‘We were taking the theoretical and making it real.'”

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Dawn Colbert

It’s beautiful

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