The spirit of discovery and exploration is alive and can be found in nearly every nook and cranny of Discovery West. Even something as simple as the street you live on can hold a story as we celebrate significant discoveries in the fields of medicine, technology, science, space and geography (just to name a few) throughout history. These discoveries—and the amazing people behind these discoveries—have saved lives, increased knowledge and defied odds for centuries.

To honor a few of the people who made these discoveries, we’ve named nearly all of the streets in Discovery West after 19 intelligent, courageous, inquisitive and inspiring women who have contributed so much to our world. That’s right, all our neighborhood streets bear the surnames of those who have undertaken careers as explorers of land, space, animals, history and the world around us. Each of these courageous and accomplished women has a fascinating story. Read below to learn the inspiring story of Discovery behind your street name…

Ann Bancroft, Woman of Discovery
Ann Bancroft

Ann Bancroft (b. 1955) was the first woman to participate and finish expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. Her courage and determination in harrowing conditions on numerous expeditions throughout her lifetime has garnered her a place in the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Ann is a University of Oregon graduate and was named one of history’s greatest polar explorers in 2011. In addition to adventuring, Ann is an author, teacher and speaker.

Patricia Bath, MD, Woman of Discovery
Patricia Bath

Patricia Bath (1942-2019) was a pioneer in laser cataract surgery, discovering new methods that have saved the sight of innumerable people. Dr. Bath’s research led her to invent a device in 1986, making her the first African American woman to receive a patent for medical purposes (and that was only the first of 8!). When she noticed the prevalence of blindness in black communities, Dr. Bath developed the field of community ophthalmology, which is based on the premise that eyesight is a basic human right and should be considered part of primary care. 

Katharine Burr Blodgett, Woman of Discovery
Katharine Burr Blodgett

Katharine Burr Blodgett (1898-1979) was an American physicist and chemist, born in 1898. While working for General Electric in the 1930s, Katharine invented nonreflective glass which had many practical applications including camera lenses, periscopes used in World War II, eyeglasses and windshields. She also invented methods for deicing aircraft wings. Following her passing in 1979, Dr. Blodgett was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007.

Kalpana Chawla, Woman of Discovery
Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla (1962-2003) was an American engineer and NASA astronaut. She was the first Indian-born woman to fly in space. After earning a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering in her home country of India, Kalpana (or KC as she was known by friends) moved to the US in 1983 and earned two masters degrees and a PhD. In 2003, Dr. Chawla was one of seven crew members who died in the space shuttle Columbia disaster when the spacecraft disintegrated during its re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

Dian Fossey, Woman of Discovery
Dian Fossey

Dian Fossey (1932-1985) was one of the foremost primatologists in the world. She was led to this career through her lifelong love of animals, but also by renowned paleoanthropologist and archaeologist Dr. Louis Leakey. Leakey was also a driving force behind Dr. Jane Goodall’s study of primates. During Fossey’s time in Rwanda, she made many discoveries about the physiology and behavior of gorillas from 1966 until her 1985 death. Dian was a conservationist and strongly opposed poaching and tourism in wildlife habitats.

Pearl Kendrick, Woman of Discovery
Pearl Kendrick

Pearl Kendrick (1890-1980) was an American bacteriologist whose pioneering research in collaboration with colleague Grace Eldering, led to the first whooping cough vaccine. At the time, whooping cough killed thousands of people in the United States each year, with the vast majority being babies and children. This important vaccine has prevented the spread of the contagious disease and has saved countless lives.

Kathleen Kenyon, Woman of Discovery
Kathleen Kenyon

Kathleen Kenyon (1906-1978) grew up in London in a house attached to the British Museum where her father worked. This unique upbringing fostered a love of history. Kathleen was a brilliant archeologist best known for her excavations in Ancient Jericho during the 1950s. Ground-breaking discoveries were made about the history of this walled city where she refined a method of archaeological excavation that helped discern the long and complicated history of the site. 

Ann Kiessling, Woman of Discovery
Ann Kiessling

Ann Kiessling (b. 1942) is a native Oregonian and reproductive biologist. Dr. Kiessling’s research explored relationships between viruses and cancer which led to her discovery of reverse transcriptase activity in normal human cells. Prior to the discovery, it was assumed that reverse transcriptase was an enzyme found only in retroviruses. Dr. Kiessling’s interest shifted toward stem cell research in 2000, when her expertise in human egg biology led her to develop the country’s first human egg donor program for stem cell research. 

Henrietta Swan Leavitt

Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868-1921) was an American astronomer who, after graduating college, worked for Harvard College Observatory measuring and cataloging the brightness of stars. This work led to her significant discovery of the relationship between luminosity and the period of Cepheid variables that eventually allowed astronomers to accurately measure distances in intergalactic scale and paved the way for modern astronomy’s understanding of the scale and structure of the universe. 

Annie Londonderry, Woman of Discovery
Annie Londonderry

Annie “Londonderry” Kopchovsky (1870-1947) emigrated to the US from Latvia when she was just five years old. At the age of 24 and with $10,000 in prize money motivating her, Annie set out to become the first woman to bicycle around the world. A brilliant saleswoman and exceptional storyteller, Annie acquired her name as part of a deal with one of her sponsors, Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Company. Annie completed her task in fifteen months, launching a journalism career and writing about her adventures.

Maria Goeppert Mayer
Maria Goeppert Mayer

Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906-1972) was a German-born American physicist who won the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the nuclear shell structure of the atomic nucleus. Throughout her career, Dr. Goeppert Mayer was discriminated against because of her gender, many times working without pay in teaching and research roles at prestigious universities. She joined the Manhattan Project during World War II.

Ellen Ochoa, Woman of Discovery
Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa (b. 1958) was the first Hispanic woman to go into space as a crew member of the 1993 space shuttle Discovery with a mission to study the Earth’s ozone layer. A veteran of four space flights, Dr. Ochoa has logged over 1,000 hours in space. An electrical engineer, Dr. Ochoa’s work in optical systems for automated space exploration earned her a number of patents. Dr. Ochoa later served as the director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston from 2013-2018.

Margaret Pittman, Woman of Discovery
Margaret Pittman

Margaret Pittman (1901-1995) was a pioneering bacteriologist whose research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on typhoid, cholera and pertussis helped generate the development of vaccinations against these diseases as well as others. Her discovery of the “b” strain, led to the development of the Hib vaccination which helps protect against meningitis, which, at the time, often resulted in blindness and sometimes death in younger children. Dr. Pittman became the first woman to head an NIH laboratory in 1955.

Theresa Singleton, Woman of Discovery
Theresa Singleton

Theresa Singleton (b. 1952) is one of the foremost archeologists studying slavery in the Americas. In 1980, Singleton became the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in historical archaeology and African-American history from the University of Florida. She has been involved in the excavation of slave residences in the south and the Caribbean. She is currently a professor of anthropology at Syracuse University and has edited and authored a number of books in her field.

Lady Hester Stanhope, Woman of Discovery
Lady Hester Stanhope

Lady Hester Stanhope (1776-1839) was a British socialite, adventurer and traveler. In 1815, she undertook an archeology expedition in Israel to uncover 600-year old relics. Given the methodical way in which she excavated and recorded findings, it is said to be the first modern excavation in the history of archaeological exploration of the Holy Land.

Donna Strickland, Woman of Discovery
Donna Strickland

Donna Strickland (b. 1959) was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for her work on chirped pulse amplification. In 1985, Dr. Strickland and her mentor discovered a technique using high-intensity ultrashort pulses of light beams that are used today in many applications, the most notable of which is corrective laser eye surgery. A professor in physics at the University of Waterloo, Dr. Strickland leads an ultra-fast laser group that develops high-intensity laser systems for non-linear optics investigations.

Kathryn Sullivan

Kathryn Sullivan (b. 1951) was the first American woman to walk in space in 1984. During her career with NASA, Dr. Sullivan actively participated in three space shuttle missions, including the mission that deployed the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990. She logged 532 hours in space. Nominated by President Obama, Dr. Sullivan became the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2014.

Marie Tharp, Woman of Discovery
Marie Tharp

Marie Tharp (1920-2006) was an American geologist and oceanic cartographer. Before the early 1950s, scientists knew very little about the structure of the ocean floor. Dr. Tharp used data captured by expeditions to create detailed profiles of the Atlantic Ocean floor, previously thought to be flat. Her painstaking work showed a diverse ocean floor and revealed the presence of a continuous rift valley, causing a paradigm shift among scientists that led to the acceptance of the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift.

Fannie Workman, Woman of Discovery
Fanny Bullock Workman

Fanny Bullock Workman (1859-1925) set several women’s altitude records, published eight travel books with her husband, and championed women’s rights and women’s suffrage. In addition to bicycling tours throughout Europe and India, the Workmans took up high-altitude climbing in the Himalayas. Despite not having modern climbing equipment, they explored several glaciers and reached the summit of several mountains. In 1905, Fanny became only the second woman to address the Royal Geographical Society.