Mary McCarthy Oral History

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Dublin Core


Mary McCarthy Oral History


Mary McCarthy was a freshman studying communications technology at an Oklahoma junior college when the United States entered the Second World War. She joined the Civil Service shortly after and spent the war years repairing damaged planes and testing aviation communications equipment in San Antonio and Hawaii. After the war ended she got married, adopted a child, and did not return to school or work for another 20 years.

In 1968, at the age of 45, McCarthy began the transition from “kitcheneering to engineering.” She originally enrolled in San Francisco City College so that she could help her daughter with her homework, but in 1973 McCarthy transferred to the University of California, Berkley to pursue engineering. She completed her degrees in electrical engineering and material science in 1976 and was hired by Lockheed as a reliability engineer to work on parts control and standardization. During her career at Lockheed she worked on military and aerospace projects such as the Hubble Space Telescope and became the chairperson of the Parts Control Board. She retired from Lockheed in 2005.

McCarthy is a Fellow of the Society of Women Engineers. She has served as the president of the Texas and the Santa Clara Valley sections and as the national Vice President of Student Services. In addition to her professional achievements she has contributed to the success of others by giving presentations and developing career guidance programs with SWE, the American Association of University Women, the International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists, the Girl Scouts, and 4-H.

Oral History Item


Deborah Rice


McCarthy, Mary

Date Recorded



1930s - 2000s


“Mary McCarthy Oral History,” Michigan Oral History Database, accessed June 13, 2024,

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