Born on Nantucket in 1818, Maria Mitchell's father was a schoolteacher and amateur astronomer who passed on his love of watching the night sky, teaching his young daughter how to use astronomical instruments. After showing a keen interest and talent for mathematics and astronomy in school, Maria was fifteen when she discovered a comet using a refracting telescope. Named Miss Mitchell's Comet, she received international recognition, was awarded a gold medal by the King of Denmark, and was recognized by the Seneca Falls Convention. She became a teacher of math and astronomy, and was an active suffragette and anti-slavery activist. Maria was appointed a professor at Vassar College in 1865, continuing her life-long support for women's studies in math and science.