Mary was born in Oklahoma in 1908 and pursued mathematics at Northeastern State Teacher’s College before moving on to Colorado State College of Education to earn her master’s degree. She hailed from a pioneering family.
As per the Smithsonian, her great-great-grandfather, John Ross, was the Cherokee Nation’s longest-serving chief and battled to safeguard the nation from arriving white immigrants.
She worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and a Native American boarding school. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation hired her in 1942 as a mathematician amid World War II. This was a “major military facility during the war.”