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Edith Clarke

Head and shoulders portrait of Edith Clarke Edith Clarke was the first woman to earn an Electrical Engineering degree from MIT.

Edith Clarke was born on February 10, 1883 in Howard County, Maryland. In 1908, she earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and astronomy from Vassar College. After teaching physics at a girls' school for a few years, Edith decided to go back to school. She enrolled in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in 1918, earned her master's degree in electrical engineering. She was the first woman to receive a degree from that department.

From 1919 until her first retirement in 1945, Edith worked as an engineer for General Electric. In 1921, she received a patent for her "graphical calculator." This device was used to solve electric power transmission line problems. In 1926, Edith became the first woman to deliver a paper before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. In 1947, Edith went to teach electrical engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. She was the first woman to teach engineering there. Edith's accomplishments was recognized in 1954 by the Society of Women Engineers Achievements Award "in recognition of her many original contributions to stability theory and circuit analysis." She retired from teaching in 1956. Edith Clarke died in October 1959 at the age of 76.

Edith Clarke's inventions has made a difference in the world of electrical engineering and for women across the globe.