Determination, creativity and bravery are three traits that Grace Hopper possessed during her lifetime. Her interest in math and physics, which she later studied at Vassar College, began as a child, when she was curious how alarm clocks worked. Her analytic, exploratory nature led her to earn a Master's degree and Ph.D. in mathematics at Yale. As one of the first women to earn such a degree, she also continued to teach at Vassar College until she decided to join the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1943, participating in WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).
During World War II, her skills in mathematics were in high demand as she learned to program a Mark I computer at Harvard. After the war ended, she discovered that a moth had infiltrated the Mark II computer and turned it off, popularizing the term "computer bug." In 1949, she supervised programming for the UNIVAC computer and later on, her team became the first to create the "A compiler" for computer language (code). At age 60, she was called back into Naval service because of her technical acuity in programming language and became a rear admiral before retiring completely in 1986. As a workaholic and success in her field, she continued computer work until her death in 1992, at age 85.
Overall, Grace Hopper dedicated her time and intelligence to essentially create a new, universal language used in computers. She was awarded the National Medal of Technology, besides 40 honorary degrees from various universities. Organizations and programs to honor her legacy were created, such as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, aside from the Grace Murray Hopper Award. Women such as Grace are defining figures in the world of computer science and how people are able to communicate with each other via technology.