Joan Newton Cuneo, who played a trailblazing role for female race car drivers, was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1876. She was the last of four daughters born to Leila Vulte and John Carter Newton. Joan’s strong interest in transportation took root early on in her life. As a child – and under her indulgent... Continue Reading →

In 1977, Janna Lambine became the U.S. Coast Guard’s first female pilot. She earned her wings as an aviator after she completed flight training at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field near Milton, Florida. “It’s nice to be the first,” Lambine said in an interview published the following month in the New Mexico-based Clovis News-Journal. “I’ve never... Continue Reading →

March 17, 1929 At the California-based Oakland Municipal Airport (now Oakland International Airport), 23-year-old Ira Louise McPhetridge Thaden completed a plane flight in which she set a new women’s endurance record for staying airborne. She brought her Travel Air biplane back down onto the airfield 22 hours, three minutes, and 12 seconds after flying from there... Continue Reading →

Minnesota native Clara Marian Wagner (1891-1961) was one of the first women – if not the first woman – to take part in motorcycle competitions. Her strong enthusiasm for motorcycles at a young age was hardly surprising. After all, her father was the owner of the Wagner Motorcycle Company in St. Paul. George Wagner had... Continue Reading →

Throughout America’s history, women have made substantial contributions in transportation through innovation and unwavering leadership. This AASHTO video highlights some of those trailblazers whose contributions in the field of transportation have helped to pave the way for generations to come: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKrZ1ADNqYE

In 1947, Fannie May Hudgins Salter (1883-1966) retired as the lighthouse keeper at Turkey Point Light at the head of the Chesapeake Bay in northeastern Maryland. Since Turkey Point Light was fully automated soon thereafter, Salter had the distinction of being its last lighthouse keeper. In addition, she had been the fourth female lighthouse keeper... Continue Reading →

Victoria Sheehan, who has served as commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation since October 2015, was elected president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in October 2020. Sheehan is the second woman to serve as president of AASHTO in its 107-year history. AASHTO’s first female president was Susan... Continue Reading →

In 1988, Sakhile Nyoni-Reiling became the first female pilot in the Republic of Botswana when she began flying planes for that African country’s state-owned airline Air Botswana. While born in the neighboring country of Zimbabwe, she has spent most of her life in Botswana. Nyoni’s enthusiasm for flying took root at an early age. She... Continue Reading →

In 1965, chemist Stephanie Kwolek made a pivotal discovery while working on the development of a lightweight fiber that would be durable enough to replace the steel used in tires. This discovery led to the creation of a high-strength material that has since played a lifesaving role in transportation and various other industries. Kwolek was born... Continue Reading →

In the late 1980s, Surekha Shankar Yadav became India’s first woman to operate a train. Yadav was born in the city of Satara in India’s state of Maharashtra in 1965. After graduating from St. Paul Convent High School in Satara, she earned a diploma in electrical engineering at Polytechnic Government College in the city of... Continue Reading →

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