Who taught Mary jackson to understand mechanical things?

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Mary Jackson gained her mechanical knowledge from a variety of teachers. One of them was Kazimierez "Kaz" Czarnecki, one of the assistant section heads of the Four-By-Four Supersonic Pressure Tunnel. From him she learned the mechanics of the wind tunnel, from how to start the 60,000 horsepower engines to correctly positioning models in the tunnel for testing. The results of these tests led to her first co-authorship with Czarnecki of a paper titled "Effects on Nose Angle and Mach Number on Transition on Cones at Supersonic Speeds." Shortly after this Jackson was encouraged to enroll in Langley's engineer training program.

Another way she learn was not from a human but through experience itself. As a brilliant woman who managed to complete not one but two degrees–one in math and the other in physical science–in a time when women were encouraged to earn degrees in nursing or home economics, her self-sufficiency and drive helped her advance to the management role of engineer at Langley. During an assignment given to her by John Becker, chief of the Compressibility Division and one of Czarnecki's bosses, he insisted the calculations she'd done were wrong. She insisted that the numbers he'd given her were wrong, but all the calculations she'd done were exactly right, and after a long back-and-forth he apologized to her and proved she could provide more than just number-crunching.

Jackson also learned much from Dorothy Vaughn, another black female "computer" at Langley. The author, Margot Lee Shetterly, says that the adversity Vaughn experienced via her male superiors and even her white female computers was what sparked Jackson's ambition to become an engineer in the first place, as well as to build upon it even further: "determined to push for opportunities for women of all colors at NASA, clearing the way for women to take their places as equals alongside men in science and engineering jobs (257)" and "looking for ways to help secretaries and clerical employees to make the leap into technical jobs and program management (257)." She became an equal opportunity specialist and a Federal Women's Program Manager, and survived the administration changes that occurred at Langley during the 1970s. She remained "steadfast" in championing her cause, and through it paved the way for many women that came afterward.

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