After graduating with a PhD in electrical engineering from UCLA, Dr. Katz interviewed at RAND Corporation. She was told by one of her interviewers that “girls don’t work as engineers at RAND.”  She had also been told in high school that girls were supposed to take home economics and not electronics shop. 

She took electronics shop and she worked as an engineer at RAND.

Dr. Katz never thought of herself as a trailblazer for women’s rights.  She had a passion and the gifted intelligence for math and science in general and electronics in particular and was not going to let anyone tell her what she could or could not do.

I met her decades later after she had joined the faculty at CSUN.  It was at a convention.  I was quickly taken by her smile and infectious laugh.  During our brief conversation, I discovered an amazing woman.  We talked about one of her projects and I volunteered to help her.  “I will take up a lot of your time,” she warned.

And I count myself the luckiest man alive because she ended up taking all of it.

Dr. Katz and I worked together on dozens of projects over the years.  I enjoyed the hard work and what I learned from her.  But, frankly, I enjoyed her.

We quickly became a couple, living and working together. 

It had great results.  Our shining achievement was CSUNSat1, CSUN’s first satellite.  Launched just the past year, the successful mission was the culmination of four year’s work, involving 70 students – many of whom now work in the space industry.  As proud as she was about the satellite, she was prouder still of her students.

Over the years to come, I will pass on what I have learned from her.  And I will take pride when some spacecraft explores deep space or we land on Mars, because in some way it is because of her.

And I will always treasure the time we had.

James Flynn