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Born Mary Eager in 1926, the daughter of a physics professor blazed through her coursework, graduating in just three years at age 20 thanks to having taken college classes in high school and committing to a grueling year-round schedule. A strict family rule may also have helped. “Studying came first,” said Reynolds. “So no radio could be on if anyone was studying at home.” She was the second woman to graduate with a mechanical engineering degree at what was then Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University).