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The First Woman To Get a Ph.D in Computer Science

Though there’s little mention of women in the IT sector these days, decades ago it was women in the forefront of computer programming. One of those women was Sister Mary Kenneth Keller, an American nun. She became a nun in 1932, and in the late 1950s studied at the University of Wisconsin, Purdue University, The University of Michigan and Dartmouth College. In 1958, she began working at the National Science Foundation workshop at Dartmouth College, which was a males-only institution at the time. For Keller, they relaxed their rules barring women. On June 7, 1965, she became the first American woman to earn a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She went on to serve as a member of faculty at Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, where she founded the Computer Science Department and served as its Chair for 20 years.