Inventors are inspirational. Erna Schneider Hoover is an inventor, educator, and mathematician. She is known for inventing a computerized system for phone traffic at call centers. The system monitors call center center traffic. She became a pioneer for women in computer technology and received one of the first patents for computer software.
Erna was born on June 19, 1926 in Irvington, New Jersey. She lived in South Orange, New Jersey with her parents and a younger brother who died of polio at five years old. Erna attended Wellesley College and studied medieval philosophy and history. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1948. She was Phi Beta Kappa and a Durant Scholar. She went on to earn her Ph.D. from Yale University in philosophy and foundations of mathematics in 1951.
Erna became a professor of philosophy and logic at Swathmore College. She taught from 1951 until 1954. She was married to Charles Wilson Hoover, Jr. in 1953. In 1954, she became a senior technical associate at Bell Labs. She was promoted in 1956 while the systems there were switching from electronic to computer-based technologies. The system she created became known as stored program control. Her invention, Feedback Control Monitor for Stored Program Data Processing System, was awarded a patent in 1971. Erna became the first female supervisor of a technical department at Bell Labs. By 1987, she headed the operations support department. She, also, worked on research radar control programs of the Safeguard Anti-Ballistic Missile System. She worked on artificial intelligence methods, databases, and transactional software to support large telephone networks. She retired from Bell Labs in 1987.
Another role she held was serving on the boards of higher education organizations. She, for example, was a member of the board of Trustees of The College of New Jersey. In 2008, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She has, also, received the Wellesley College alumni achievement award. Her invention revolutionized communication and became the standard. Be inspired! Have a bright day!