More Hidden Figures: Women of Color in STEM Fields
Last year’s #OscarsSoWhite movement sparked many questions including “Does the entertainment industry have to whitewash in order to attract viewers?” 2016’s “Hidden Figures” features the untold stories of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), some of the women who helped the United States launch an astronaut into orbit.
Let’s take a look at even more “Hidden Figures,” women of color in STEM fields that shaped the world we live in today.
Mae Jeminson, an engineer, physician and NASA astronaut, was the first African-American woman to travel into space. On Sept. 12, 1992, she went into orbit on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The first African-American woman to be admitted into the astronaut training program, she garnered several awards, including the 1988 Essence Science and Technology Award, the 1992 Ebony Black Achievement Award and a Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College in 1993.
Alexa Irene Canady, a doctor and neurosurgeon, received her medical degree from the University of Michigan and did her postgraduate work at Yale University. There, she became the first woman and first African American to specialize in neurology and neurosurgery.
Dr. Marie Daly, a chemist, studied at Queens College and New York University before becoming the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate in Chemistry. After earning her doctorate from Columbia, she continued her research, taught at universities throughout New York City and created a scholarship fund in memory of her supportive father in order to help students of color interested in pursuing physics and chemistry at Queens College.
Evelyn Boyd Granville earned her doctorate in mathematics from Yale University in 1949. Granville worked on projects for the Apollo program including celestial mechanics and trajectory computation before becoming a professor of mathematics.
“Hidden Figures” has been nominated for several awards, including an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Critics’ Choice. The movie is poised to gross at least $100 million on a relatively small budget of $25 million, eradicating any notion that people will not pay to see diverse stories.