After gaining international attention with her discovery of a comet in 1847, Maria Mitchell taught many other women astronomers.
In 1865 she set up the astronomy program at Vassar College and encouraged her students to “question everything.”
One of Mitchell’s students was Ellen Swallow (later Richards), who in 1870 became the first woman to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Her tuition there was free, so the president could tell the trustees she was not really a student but a guest.
In 1876 Ellen Swallow Richards set up the “Woman’s Laboratory” at MIT to train women in chemistry, biology, and mineralogy.
By the 1900s, however, she had shifted her energy to domestic science, or home economics.