America’s first female astronomer
Maria Mitchell (1818–1889) was already famous when she began teaching at Vassar College in 1865. In 1847, she had observed a never-seen-before comet and received a gold medal from the King of Demark, thus becoming one of the first Americans to win any medal for science. Vassar College was the first school offering women resources comparable to those at the leading colleges for men. Mitchell’s move to Poughkeepsie, New York, to become the professor of astronomy at Vassar represented a considerable step forward in the education of women in science.