Black Woman AT&T's 1st With 100 Patents

With 100 more under review by the U.S. Patent Office, Croak hopes to encourage young girls to pursue science and technology.

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One of Croak's patents

Marian Croak, a vice president at AT&T Labs, is the first woman at the company to receive 100 patents, which she earned for her work in integrated voice and data communications. The company announced her accomplishment in a profile of her work and background published on its consumer blog yesterday, calling her an "inspiration to many in her field."

With 100 more patents still under review by the U.S. Patent Office, Croak, who mentors women, embraces her role-model status. “My hope is with young girls growing up now, they feel that they can choose to pursue sciences and technology," she said.

Marian remembers a time when women did not work outside the home. As a young child, she would follow the electricians and repairmen around the house. She was awed by how they made things work. Encouraged by her father, she took an interest in science and earned a doctorate in social psychology and quantitative analysis. Yet, Marian remains humble and reserved when it comes to her accomplishments. Her quiet confidence lets her work speak for itself. This includes her extensive research in bringing telephony and internet technology together.  Surpassing 100 patents, Marian has another 100 more still under review by the U.S. Patent Office.

From the moment she joined the company in 1982, she felt at home. Of course, there have been changes at the company, but this is what made things interesting. Marian remembers writing five or six patents on weekends when internet telephony first got started. The new ideas kept coming. She felt fortunate to be surrounded by people who think in different ways.

When Marian is not brainstorming for the next big ideas, she enjoys long distance running and mentoring, especially young adults ready to take on the world.

Read more at AT&T.

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