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Dr. Julian M. Earls, Center Director of NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) in Cleveland, Ohio awards Martha Ackmann a citation of merit for her work on women in space. Courtesy Marvin G. Smith NASA.

" Martha Ackmann connected with the students as she talked about NASA, but she also shared with them the message that a passion for a subject opens doors for people. She impressed them with her belief that people who strive reach heights beyond even their own expectations."

Jane Wypiszynski
University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh
Department of Communication


Audiences love Martha’s talks and call her speeches “moving” “dynamic” “celebratory” “eloquent” “unforgettable” and full of hope. And she’s funny too.

Martha Ackmann is a popular national speaker who talks about women who have changed America. She speaks to colleges, independent schools, professional organizations, museums, military, business and government groups.

Martha has delivered university commencement addresses, Common Reading lectures at colleges across the country and countless talks for National Women’s History Month events in March. Recently she has presented keynote speeches at Kennedy Space Center, the All American Girls Professional Baseball League conference, the Arizona Women Lawyer’s Association and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Her Adler speech, celebrating the planetarium’s 75 anniversary, was featured on the front page of the Chicago Tribune.

Martha also has given recent talks to the Princeton, New Jersey Public Library, Edwards Air Force Base, Wellesley College, Stoneleigh-Burnham School for Girls, the Texas National Guard and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maine.

Martha’s speeches are great for any occasion when groups want to inspire audiences. They are especially well-suited for:

  • Girls and Women in Sport Day programs (February)
  • Black History Month events (February)
  • Ballpark Community Events
  • Science Museums and Planetariums
  • Diversity in the Workplace Training
  • Regional History Museums
  • Women’s Equality Day (August 27)
  • National Aviation Day (August 19)
  • Federal Women’s Programs and Federally Employed Women Events
  • Public Library and Community Reading Programs
  • Girls and Women in Science Celebrations

Martha also is available for "Writer in Residence" programs at independent schools, colleges and universities. In addition to presenting readings from her work and informal discussions with students, she offers workshops on narrative non-fiction writing and "writing from the headlines."

“Martha brought reality into an auditorium full of high school girls who came to hear her speak about a subject that is dear to their hearts: having access as young women to all the world has to offer. Women need to hear the names of the individuals who were denied a dream due to their gender. It still happens. We need to know in order to truly change the way the world works.”

Martha Shepardson-Killam
Head of School
Stoneleigh-Burnham School (grades 7-12)
Greenfield, Massachusetts

“Martha Ackmann told a gripping tale of unsung heroes in the early days of space exploration. By design the original Mercury astronauts were military jet test pilots, a career not open to women at the time. But an extraordinary group of talented and tenacious women showed that they had the ‘right stuff’ too. Ackmann recounted with eloquence the obstacles these women faced as they secretly took the same rigorous physical exams as their more famous male counterparts. This is a remarkable story in itself, but even more telling is how this episode nearly vanished from the nation’s collective memory.”

Professor Richard G. French
Chair, Department of Astronomy and Director of the Whiten Observatory
Wellesley College
Team Member Cassini Mission to Saturn

“Martha Ackmann’s telling the stories of women who have successfully challenged some of society’s most long-held stereotypes inspires young people to honor those who have come before them while providing new role models to help them move forward.”

Molly Murphy MacGregor
President and Founder
National Women’s History Project

“The talk worked well at our all-employee meeting. It fit nicely with our cultural diversity training, carrying on the theme that we all benefit and become a stronger whole if we can look past the stereotypes and use the talents and skills of those who are different from us. Even thought we don’t all possess the courage and commitment of the Mercury 13 women, their undying persistence in the face of adversity inspired us to keep trying to change the world, if only in very small steps.”

Laura Lecker
Federal Women’s Program Manager
US Department of Agriculture
State of Maine

“Martha brought to life the challenges and realities of the Mercury 13 women. Her book and lecture bring home the incremental successes women have achieved and still are achieving. Martha not only provided the educational instruction, she encouraged us to continue to reach for the stars and pursue out dreams, whether they be in a space ship, our office or in our own homes. What we do as women is no small deed.”

Tonya Wieck
EEO Specialist/Diversity Manager
Edwards Air Force Base, California