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October 20, 2015

UCity Science Center honors women in Innovators Walk of Fame

Six pioneering computer programmers are among the 10 women being recognized

Technology Women
Female programmers Contributed Art/University City Science Center

Women work on the ENIAC, the first all-electronic computer.

When the University City Science Center launched its Innovators Walk of Fame in 2013, all of the innovators were men. This year, it's adding 10 women.

"We wanted to ensure that the Innovators Walk of Fame reflects the diversity of the local, regional and global communities in which the Science Center operates," Stephen Tang, the center's president, said in a statement. 

The Walk of Fame, which will be located at Innovation Plaza along 37th Street between Market and Chestnut, honors revolutionary thinkers in fields ranging from medicine to technology to community engagement.

Some women are being recognized for work done decades, or even centuries, ago. Their names will be added to the Walk this fall.

The winners are:

• Dr. Rebecca J. Cole, the second black woman to ever receive a medical degree in the U.S. She graduated from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1867 and opened a Women's Directory Center to help poor women and children.

• Stephanie Kwolek, who invented the technology behind the virtually bulletproof material Kevlar. She worked as an industrial chemist at DuPont in Delaware in the 1960s.

• Dr. Judith Rodin, president of the University of Pennsylvania and the first woman to ever lead an Ivy League university.

• Judy Wicks, founder of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia and an advocate for environmentally conscious, local and fair-trade businesses, like her own White Dog Cafe.

• Six mathematicians who programmed the first all-electronic computer, ENIAC, in 1946. Their names are Kathleen McNulty Mauchly Antonelli, Jean Jennings Bartik, Frances Elizabeth Holberton, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Frances Bilas Spence and Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum.

The inclusion of the women of ENIAC is particularly meaningful because two men who worked on the ENIAC project, including Antonelli's first husband John Mauchly, were part of the first group of innovators added to the Walk in 2013, Philly reported.

Though an obituary confirms that Antonelli died in 2006, her children can be proud that now both their father and mother have received equal honors.