Women have always been responsible for major contributions to science and society, and the women in Prince George’s are no different. Since the start of Prince George’s, women in the county have made tremendous strides for the community, the country, and the world.
Learn more about some of the impressive and impactful women connected to Prince George’s:
- Working in the field of Primary Healthcare in Maryland for four decades, Prasanna Nair (1913–2014) made significant strides for infants of mothers with HIV/AIDS and substance abuse issues. Driven by a need to serve, she worked as the director of the Community Pediatric Center, which provides healthcare to children in low-income families. She supported the next generation of community-centered healthcare professionals as a professor at the University of Maryland, a director of the school’s Junior Year Pediatric Clerkship, and the founder of the Special Parent Infant Care and Enrichment Clinic.
- Sol del Ande Mendez Eaton (1932–2020) was born in Venezuela and became an all-star basketball player and diver. She was set to compete in the 1952 Olympics in diving, but a training injury left her blind. She eventually regained her sight and applied for a scholarship to study science at New Mexico State University. She eventually made her way to Lanham, where she lived the rest of her adult life, working as a chemist at the National Cancer Institute and an EEO officer at other government agencies. She became a strong advocate for the Latinx and migrant worker communities, serving others for decades. She fought for their civil rights and against discrimination in housing and employment, earning her induction into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 1997.
- In her senior year at the University of Maryland in College Park, Elaine Harmon (1919–2015) decided to learn to fly. She learned about the Civilian Pilot Training Program as a student, trained as a pilot at the College Park Airport, and became licensed. She later served as a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot, or WASP, until 1944. This group comprised the first women to serve as military pilots for the United States. She earned full military honors after her death at Arlington National Cemetery, and artifacts from her service are on display at College Park Aviation Museum.
- Astronaut and electrical engineer Judith Resnick earned her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland in College Park. She was selected in the first class of astronauts, which included women. She eventually logged 145 hours in space, including her maiden voyage on the Space Shuttle Discovery. During that mission, she ran the Remote Manipulator System, the Space Shuttle’s arm, to remove dangerous ice formations threatening the crew’s safety. She was a member of the Space Shuttle Challenger mission, which tragically failed at launch, causing the death of the entire crew minutes into the flight.
- Esther McCready was first denied admission to the University of Maryland School of Nursing and then became the first African American nursing student at the school after suing with support from the NAACP. She became a registered nurse, teacher, and public speaker — and she eventually served on the University of Maryland School of Nursing Board of Visitors.
- Coming from a prominent Maryland family, Mary Digges Lee was determined to aid the American soldiers during the Revolutionary War. She gathered support from other Maryland women and collected necessary supplies and funds for the struggling troops. With a personal connection to George Washington, Mary was able to determine the highest needs of the military and ensure they were met. This backing earned her praise and gratitude from George Washington.
- Though Dominique Dawes was born in Silver Spring, she graduated from the University of Maryland in Prince George’s. The three-time Olympian was the first African American gymnast to win an Olympic Gold medal and the first African-American woman gymnast to win an individual medal. She went on to serve as a news correspondent, brand ambassador, and co-chair of President Barack Obama’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, where she worked closely with the First Lady on the Let’s Move! Campaign.