Much like the character Dorothy Vaughan portrayed by Octavia Spencer in the film “Hidden Figures,” West worked as a computer programmer, specializing in large-scale computer systems and data-processing systems.
She programmed an IBM 7030 “Stretch” computer to refine calculations for an accurate geodetic Earth model, essential for the development of GPS.
West’s contributions didn’t stop there!
Despite retiring from the Naval Surface Warfare Center in 1998, West’s legacy lives on. In 2018, she was admitted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame, where commanding officer Captain Godfrey Weekes hailed her as a true pioneer whose work had a lasting impact on the world.
In recognition of her significant accomplishments, West is being honored this Black History Month to shed light on her remarkable journey from a mathematician at Dahlgren in 1956 to a trailblazer whose work revolutionized navigation technology and continues to guide millions of people worldwide.