WID San Diego Honors STEM Trailblazer at 34th Annual Society of Women Engineers Banquet

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On May 22, WID San Diego took part in honoring the life and contributions of legendary STEM innovator, Alice May Anderson, at the 34th Annual Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Banquet.

“ASROC Alice”, as she was known for her work on the vertical launch capability of the Anti-submarine Rocket (ASROC) missile, served the United States Navy for 36 years as a human computer, mathematician and scientist at the Naval Ocean Systems Center (now SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific). She was one of thousands of personnel, mostly women, known as “computers,” a job title referring to a human before the machine was fully functional.

Anderson passed away in January; just months shy of her 101st birthday.

Rebecca Unetic, WID San Diego vice president, was at the banquet to posthumously present Anderson with an honorary WID San Diego membership and to announce that the organization would sponsor her induction into the Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“Our mission at WID San Diego is to cultivate and support the advancement and recognition of women in all aspects of national security,” said Unetic. “Ms. Anderson was an example of someone who did just that and was a true leader for so many to follow in her footsteps.”

Many of Anderson’s peers praised her for her work and her influence in a time that was assuredly difficult for a woman in a male-dominated field.

“I would want women to walk away from this event knowing the role that women successfully played way back in the start of World War II, and that women are out there, in larger numbers than we’ve ever imagined,” said Debra Kimberling, the event’s keynote speaker and SWE fellow. “I’m just really honored I knew Alice, and that her story came to light.”