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“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