Born Betty Jean Jennings in Gentry County, Missouri in 1924, she was the sixth of seven children. In 1945, the United States Army was recruiting mathematicians from universities to aid in the war effort; despite a warning by her adviser that she would be “a cog in a wheel” with the Army, and encouragement to become a mathematics teacher instead, Bartik decided to become a human computer. Bartik’s calculus professor encouraged her to take the job at the University of Pennsylvania because they had a differential analyzer.

She applied to both IBM and the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 20. Although rejected by IBM, Jennings was hired by the University of Pennsylvania to work for Army Ordnance at Aberdeen Proving Ground, calculating ballistics trajectories by hand.

When the Electronic Numeric Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was developed for the purpose of calculating the ballistic trajectories human computers like Bartik had been doing by hand, she applied to become a part of the project and was eventually selected to be one of its first programmers. Bartik was asked to set up problems for the ENIAC without being taught any techniques.

Bartik and five other women (Betty Holberton, Marlyn Wescoff, Kathleen McNulty, Ruth Teitelbaum, and Frances Spence) were chosen to be the main programmers for the ENIAC. They were known as the “Sensational Six.” Many other women who are often unrecognized contributed to the ENIAC during a period of wartime male labor shortage.

While ENIAC and its builders made headlines in 1946, none of its female programmers were mentioned. Jean’s accomplishments were recognized decades after her service but were acknowledged nonetheless. Later, Jean was honored with a Pioneer Award and inducted into the Hall of Fame of Women in Technology International. In 2013, a 20-minute documentary was created on the inspirational women of the ENIAC project.

According to Source of photos: internet