Yorktown Engineer, Former Prodigy Wins National Award

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Edith Stern, a Yorktown Heights resident, was honored with a national award for her engineering work. Photo Credit: ASME
Edith Stern, a Yorktown Heights resident, was honored with a national award for her engineering work. Photo Credit: ASME

YORKTOWN, N.Y. - Yorktown Heights resident Edith Stern gained national recognition for her intellect in the 1970s and the self-described former child prodigy is still making headlines for her engineering work at IBM.

Stern was honored last month with a national award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She earned ASME's Kate Gleason Award, which was established in 2011 to recognize a female engineer who is a highly successful entrepreneur in a field of engineering or who has had a lifetime of achievement in the engineering profession.

Gleason was the first woman to be welcomed into ASME as a full member. Stern was presented with the award in November at an Honors Assembly in Houston, Texas.

“I was thrilled to receive the Kate Gleason award,” Stern said. “Kate Gleason really paved the way for future generations of women engineers. It is a great honor to have received this award, named for her.”

Recognition is nothing new for Stern, who has been an inventor on more than 100 issued U.S. patents since beginning her IBM career nearly 40 years ago.

Stern, 60, was the subject of her father’s books “The Making of a Genius” in 1971 and a follow-up "The Joy of Learning," in 1977.

"I was a child prodigy," Stern said.

She began her college career at the age of 12 at Miami-Dade Jr. College in 1966, earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Florida Atlantic University at 15, and her master’s degree in mathematics at Michigan State University at 18. The Florida-native moved to Yorktown Heights in 2000 to work at the IBM complex in Somers.

“I'm a contrarian,” Stern said. “I started in Florida, and then moved back to New York instead of the other way around.”

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