Marda Higdon Jones went to high school in Iowa City and attended Iowa State University, graduating in 1972 with a major in mathematics and minor in computer science, and accepting a job with Bell Labs in Naperville, IL. In 1976, after being promoted to MTS, she completed a master’s degree at Northwestern University (and, later, an executive MBA from Columbia University). She discuses the influence on her and her colleagues of the 1970s women’s movement and affirmative action programs at AT&T, including the Men and Women in the Work Environment and Urban Minorities workshops. In the 1970s she worked in software development, then after a one-year rotational assignment in New Jersey, she returned to Naperville in a managerial position and then moved to Holmdel, NJ, as department head in systems engineering then division manager for network architecture. In 1988 she was promoted to director at Bell Labs, and the interview relates several instances of managerial and personnel challenges. She joined Lucent Technologies, the Bell Labs spin-off, in 1996 and retired in 2000. She reflects on 1970s-era gendered images of ‘electrical engineer’ and ‘computer scientist’.
This material is based on work funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award B2014-07 “Tripling Women’s Participation in Computing (1965-1985).”
Marda Higdon Jones, OH 494. Oral history interview by Thomas J. Misa, 6 January 2016. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Transcript, 50 pp.
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award B2014-07 “Tripling Women’s Participation in Computing (1965-1985).”
Jones, Marda Higdon.
Oral history interview with Marda Higdon Jones.
Charles Babbage Institute.
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