Nancy DeLoye Fitzroy Pioneer
in mechanical engineering, first woman president of the ASME
Fitzroy is an exceptional engineer, pilot and charismatic person.
Her contributions in the heat transfer field have lead to improvements
reentry vehicles (heat shields)
Rocket engines (fuel use)
Nuclear submarines (cooling systems and shielding)
Nuclear reactors (cooling and shielding)
Household appliances (including electric motors)
Steam and gas turbines (electric power generation)
Heat transfer physics
Doctorate - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) President 1986
Electric (various departments) 1950-1987
Honorary Fellow of Britain's
Institution of Mechanical Engineers 1988
National Academy of Engineering 1995
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Hall of Fame 1999
ASME Honorary Membership 2008
The Edison Tech Center is currently producing a full documentary on
the life and work of Nancy Fitzroy as part of their "Wizards of
Schenectady Series". This series takes the viewer on a journey
through time using hundreds of historical photos and old films in addition
to narrative and interviews with coworkers, friends, and fellow engineers.
was born in the Pittsfield, Massachusetts area and grew up in a supportive
family. Her father was a contractor and had a natural talent in the
physical world. He flew home-built gliders from local hilltops and encouraged
Nancy to excel in whatever she chose to do. Her first 'engineering'
task was to build a phonograph player from available parts.
to Rensselear Polytechnic Institute and found herself the only women
in each class. Her classmates were encouraging and she graduated in
1949. She married Roland V. Fitzroy who was another talented engineer
Fitzroy (1922-2004) - Watch Nancy's discussion on Roland's work with
the Manhattan Project below:
a graduate of Union College in 1943 and went on to advance engineering
in many fields including rocket guidance, nuclear reactors, nuclear
weapons, and other defense related technologies, many of which have
influenced our consumer technology today. Roland and Nancy worked together
on Project Hermes, which was a continuation of the V2
rocket work started by the Germans in WW2. Nancy worked on the engines
and heat transfer while Roland worked on guidance and electrical systems.
Their work lived on into the Project Vanguard and Project Redstone years.
These projects sent up the US's first satellites.
Nancy's design - Malta, New York. Photo: Schenectady Museum
working in many departments of General Electric Nancy improved
the efficiency and heat transfer design of many technologies.
Her field could be applied to everything from electric motors
to refrigerators to rocket engines.
Nancy became the go-to person
in her field. Whenever someone had a problem with heat transfer in their
device they would meet with her and she would help figure the problem
out. General Electric produced a wide variety of products across the
US and she frequently traveled.
Left: Nancy, the
best in her field!
At General Electric
some men were afraid to ask her for help. The field of science
and engineering was still dominated by white men at the time.
Nancy has held a positive attitude her entire life and has not
been held back by the establishment. She did what she liked
and no one could stop her. She has been recognized by the NAE
and ASME for being an exceptional engineer, not just as a 'woman
engineer'. She is proud of her achievements and has been an
inspiration to many women in the engineering field.
the first woman president of the ASME and went on to receive many other
awards. She contributes her time and expertise toward technology advisory
committees in Washington DC.
She is an
avid flyer and sailor. Nancy became one of the earliest woman helicopter
pilots in the world. Roland and Nancy used their twin engine aircraft
together as a hobby and to get to and from work when going to GE locations
out of the Capital District. Together they traveled the world skiing,
sailing and road tripping.
continues to be a mentor to young women who have an interest in engineering
as well as filling advisory positions. She is active in the ASME.
Nancy talks about being a woman engineer:
Nancy D. Fitzroy
General Electric Company
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