She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1928 and taught math and science for nine years in nearby high schools.
She was hired as a mathematician with Lockheed Corporation in 1942. In 1952, she was asked to be one of 40 engineers in what became known as the Lockheed Skunk Works, a super-secret think tank. It was the start of Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., a major consultant to NASA. Ross was 45, the only woman and the only Native American.
Her Lockheed team’s top-secret project?
“Preliminary design concepts for interplanetary space travel, manned and unmanned earth-orbiting flights, the earliest studies of orbiting satellites for both defense and civilian purposes,” columnist Leigh Weimers wrote in the Mercury News in 1994.