10 Katherine Johnson Quotes: Wisdom from a NASA Pioneer

10 Katherine Johnson Quotes Wisdom from a NASA Pioneer

What makes someone push through barriers in a field mostly led by men? Katherine Johnson’s life is a shining example. As a “human computer,” her math genius was key in NASA’s Apollo missions and other space projects. She overcame many hurdles but never lost her drive for excellence. Her story is one of empowerment and determination.

Her work in space tech was celebrated in the movie “Hidden Figures.” Johnson’s insights and wisdom still inspire people today, especially women in STEM. Below, you’ll find some of Katherine Johnson’s most impactful quotes. They offer lessons that are still relevant today, on learning, fairness, and never giving up.

Key Takeaways

  • Katherine Johnson’s groundbreaking efforts in aerospace engineering remain an inspiration.
  • Her role as a “human computer” was crucial for NASA’s success in space missions.
  • Despite gender and racial barriers, Johnson’s quotes reflect wisdom on equality and perseverance.
  • Her legacy extends beyond her career, as depicted in the film “Hidden Figures” and her numerous awards.
  • Katherine Johnson’s motivational quotes continue to empower individuals in STEM and other fields.

The Life and Legacy of Katherine Johnson

On August 26, 1918, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Katherine Johnson was born. She stood out in math from a young age. At just 10 years old, she started high school. She graduated top of her class from West Virginia State College at 18.

Early Life and Education

Despite facing segregation, Katherine Johnson excelled in math. She had a teacher, Dr. William W. Schiefflin Claytor, who guided her. This support helped her build the skills she used later at NASA.

Challenges and Achievements

In 1953, she began working at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which later became NASA. She dealt with racism and sexism, proving her worth by working on astronaut John Glenn’s flight. Over her time at NASA, she made many achievements, including being the first African-American woman to have her name on a NASA report. She also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.

Impact on Space Missions

Johnson’s math skills were key in many space missions like the Mercury program and Apollo 11. She also contributed during World War II, helping aerospace technology. Her work greatly advanced space exploration.

Key MilestonesDetails
BirthAugust 26, 1918
Graduated summa cum laude1937
Joined NACA1953
Critical Role in Friendship 71962
Presidential Medal of Freedom2015
Passed AwayFebruary 24, 2020

Even after retiring, Katherine Johnson kept encouraging education. Her work, well-known quotes, and the movie “Hidden Figures,” still inspire young people in STEM fields today.

10 Katherine Johnson Quotes

Katherine Johnson, a legendary mathematician, left us with many wise words. These 10 Katherine Johnson quotes show her strong will, intelligence, and push for equal rights. Her quotes inspire anyone who wants to do their best.

Katherine Johnson

Example: This quote can inspire students to find subjects they are passionate about, leading to better performance and satisfaction in their studies.

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Example: This can be used by an entrepreneur facing challenges in their startup journey, reminding them to adapt their vision while staying true to their goals.

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Example: Innovators in tech can relate to this, as they often venture into uncharted territories with groundbreaking ideas.

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Example: Educators can use this quote to emphasize the importance of STEM education for future generations.

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Example: Lifelong learners can use this quote to express their continuous quest for knowledge in various fields.

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Example: This quote can be empowering for young women pursuing careers in traditionally male-dominated fields like engineering and technology.

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Example: This quote can be a source of confidence for anyone facing self-doubt or imposter syndrome in their professional life.

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Example: This quote can be a reminder for leaders to stay humble and treat everyone with respect, regardless of their status.

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Example: Scientists and mathematicians can use this quote to underline the fundamental role of these disciplines in understanding the world.

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Example: This quote can inspire teamwork and collaboration, showing that complex problems can be solved when people work together towards a common goal.

Johnson promotes a call for equality, respect, and humility in this powerful statement.

These Katherine Johnson quotes on determination are more than just words. They leave behind a lasting legacy of inspiration and empowerment for all.

Even after her time at NASA, where she played a major role in space missions, her influence lives on. Katherine Johnson shared her brilliance with the world. And her quotes remind us that with perseverance, we can achieve anything.

Katherine Johnson’s Thoughts on Education and STEM

Katherine Johnson inspired many with her thoughts on education and STEM. She talked about how curiosity leads to new ideas and why never giving up is so important. Johnson was a big supporter of learning and hard work.

Even after working for NASA, Johnson kept sharing her love for learning. She thought gaining knowledge was the way to reach dreams. By sharing her thoughts on education, she encouraged always learning.

After NASA, Johnson pushed for more people to study science and math. She saw great chances in STEM fields. She often mentioned the importance of these subjects in moving our world forward in her quotes about STEM.

“Girls are capable of doing everything men are capable of doing. Sometimes they have more imagination than men.” – Katherine Johnson

At NASA, Johnson’s math skills were crucial for space missions. Her work helped astronauts like John Glenn successfully make their flights. Glenn trusted her calculations for his famous flight in 1962.

Johnson also used her math skills during World War II. She was great at thinking and planning strategically. For her amazing work, she was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom at 97 in 2015.

Katherine Johnson’s impact on education and STEM will be remembered for years. She showed how important it is to learn and love science and math.

Read Also: David Goggins: Inspiring Quotes for Everyone


Katherine Johnson’s life is a story of willpower, smarts, and a love for math. She was born in 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. From a young age, she showed extraordinary intelligence. She graduated high school at 14 and college by 18, paving her path to work at NASA.

Starting her career with NASA’s predecessor in 1953, Johnson calculated the course for Alan Shepard’s space voyage. This made her a key player in space exploration.

Johnson received high honors for her work, including the NASA Lunar Orbiter team award in 1967 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. These awards celebrated her major impact on NASA and science. Today, Johnson’s words on determination, motivation, and equal rights inspire people everywhere.

Her journey and wisdom offer lessons for everyone. She found success by staying curious, seeking equality, and striving for greatness. Projects like the Mercury program and the Apollo 11 mission showcase her talent. The movie Hidden Figures immortalized her, showing how hard work and talent know no bounds.

Johnson’s legacy isn’t just about her career achievements. It’s also about encouraging the next generations to dream big and believe in themselves. To learn more about her remarkable life, visit the NASA Katherine Johnson page.


Who was Katherine Johnson?

Katherine Johnson changed the game as a NASA mathematician. Her math was key to the Apollo missions. She broke through racial and gender walls to help us explore space.

Why is Katherine Johnson an inspirational figure?

She is a beacon of determination and intelligence in a men’s world. Katherine Johnson’s legacy shines, inspiring all, especially in STEM areas. She preaches the values of equality, education, and never giving up.

What are some famous quotes by Katherine Johnson?

She said, “Like what you do, and then you will do your best.” She also mentioned, “We will always have STEM with us.” Katherine knows STEM is here to stay, pushing us to explore and excel. Her love for science and math is always clear in her words.

How did Katherine Johnson contribute to NASA’s space missions?

She calculated paths for NASA missions, including crucial flights like John Glenn’s and Apollo 11. Katherine’s math kept astronauts safe and missions successful.

What obstacles did Katherine Johnson overcome in her career?

She faced racism and sexism but powered through with skill and dedication. Katherine deals with these issues head-on, setting an example of excellence.

What did Katherine Johnson advocate for in the field of education?

STEM and lifelong learning were Katherine’s passions. She urged people to ask questions and never stop learning. Her work inspired many to explore and dominate in science and math.

Why are Katherine Johnson’s quotes on equality powerful?

Katherine’s words fight for equal chances for all, no matter the color or gender. They come from her life’s battles, pushing for a just and united society.

What impact did Katherine Johnson have on STEM fields?

Katherine’s efforts changed how we view space travel and opened doors in STEM. By highlighting women and minorities, she motivates others to follow their dreams in STEM.

How did Katherine Johnson inspire future generations?

Her achievements and passion for learning fuel the drive in coming generations. Katherine’s tale and inspiring quotes push others towards greatness in their fields.

What honors and recognition did Katherine Johnson receive for her work?

She won many awards, like the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her contributions. Her incredible story is told in books and movies like “Hidden Figures.” These works underscore her major role in NASA’s success.

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