Vera Shoffner Russell, graduated from West Virginia State College as a math and physics major in 1951. She took the government employment math test and was offered a position. She reported to the Agency in 1951 and was assigned as a programmer on the early computers, ABNER 2, ATLAS 1, and ATLAS 2. Like the vast majority of African-Americans hired before 1954, she started at a lower grade than similarly qualified whites. In fact, she believes the personnel office thought she was white and originally offered her a GS-5. When she arrived, they asked if she'd accept a GS-4 instead, which she did.