Showing posts with label Katherine Johnson NASA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Katherine Johnson NASA. Show all posts

Sunday, November 10, 2019

NASA 'Hidden Figures' to be awarded Congressional gold medals

Four African American women known as the "Hidden Figures" who worked at NASA during the Space Race are being awarded Congressional Gold Medals, the highest civilian award in the US.

Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, as well as mathematician Katherine Johnson and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan were awarded Congressional Gold Medals.

Vaughan and Jackson, who passed away, were both awarded posthumously.

A fifth gold medal was granted in honor of all women who contributed to NASA during the Space Race.

Democratic Senator Kamala Harris from California, one of the people who introduced the bipartisan bill, called the women "pioneers" and an inspiration to black women across the US.

"The groundbreaking accomplishments of these four women, and all of the women who contributed to the success of NASA, helped us win the space race but remained in the dark far too long," said Harris in a press release.

The four trailblazers paved the way for women of color to make history in fields including science, math, and technology.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

'Hidden Figure' Katherine Johnson to Deliver Hampton University Commencement Address

Hampton University is pleased to announce that Katherine G. Johnson, one of the leading inspirations behind the Hollywood feature film Hidden Figures, will serve as the University’s 147th Commencement speaker on May 14, 2017. Commencement will be held at Armstrong Stadium at 10 a.m.

Considered to be one of NASA's human 'computers,' Johnson performed the complex calculations that enabled humans to successfully achieve space flight. In 1961, Johnson was tasked with plotting the path for Alan Shepard's journey to space, the first in American history. Johnson was later responsible for verifying calculations of the "machines" and giving the "go-ahead" to propel John Glenn into successful orbit in 1962.

Johnson has been honored with an array of awards for her groundbreaking work. Among them are the 1967 NASA Lunar Orbiter Spacecraft and Operations team award, and the National Technical Association’s designation as its 1997 Mathematician of the Year. On Nov. 24, 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama.

“With her razor-sharp mathematical mind, Katherine G. Johnson helped broaden the scope of space travel, charting new frontiers for humanity’s exploration of space, and creating new possibilities for all humankind," said Obama. "From sending the first American to space to the first moon landing, she played a critical role in many of NASA’s most important milestones. Katherine Johnson refused to be limited by society’s expectations of her gender and race while expanding the boundaries of humanity’s reach.”

Johnson earned a B.S. degree in mathematics and French from West Virginia State College. In 1999, that university named Johnson "Outstanding Alumnus of the Year."

Johnson had three daughters with her late husband James Goble. All of the daughters are graduates of Hampton University: Joylette Goble Hylick, '62, Constance Goble Garcia (deceased), ’73, and Katherine Goble Moore, ’70. Johnson is married to Lt. Col. USA(ret) James A. Johnson, ‘52. Johnson has six grandchildren (three of whom graduated from HU) and 11 great-grandchildren.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

President Obama wards the Medal of Freedom to Katherine Johnson

President Obama bestowed the Medal of Freedom to Johnson, a NASA mathematician who calculated and verified the travel trajectories that took the first Americans to space.

In his speech to the Congressional Black Caucus in September 2015, President Obama noted, “Black women have been a part of every great movement in American history—even if they weren’t always given a voice.” Most will think of this in the context of the civil rights movement, where black women helped plan the March on Washington, but were largely absent from the program, or perhaps even in the fight for women’s rights, from suffrage to the feminist movement. Very few, however, may know the role that women, particularly women of color, have played as innovators and leaders in the domains of science and technology.

On November 24th, President Obama bestowed the Medal of Freedom, the Nation’s highest civilian honor, to Katherine Johnson—a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mathematician who exhibited exceptional technical leadership, calculating and verifying trajectories that took the first Americans to space and to the moon.

Johnson’s recognition by President Obama marks a proud moment in American history because until recently, Johnson’s critical technical contributions to the space race were largely unknown to the world. The contributions and leadership of countless scientific and technical women and people of color who have been tremendous innovators have been left out of American history books, unfortunately. That’s why the Obama Administration is deeply committed to illuminating the great work and “untold history” of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as also shining a light on the great potential of all of America’s children to lead the world as the next generation of discoverers, inventors, and high-tech entrepreneurs.

In addition, a feature film is in the works to share Katherine Johnson’s story, along with the other three black women that were crucial to the success of the NASA space missions of the 50s and 60s. It is truly an exciting time—there is momentum building where a number of organizations seek to harness the power of media and storytelling to incite change, specifically in the STEM inclusion domain. Popular entertainment media (e.g. television and film) can influence the public’s perceptions towards STEM by shaping, cultivating, or reinforcing the “cultural meanings” of STEM fields and careers. Currently, STEM men outpace STEM women 5 to 1 in family films. Entertainment media can, therefore, play a dichotomous role—it can either reinforce biases and stereotypes that discourage girls and minorities from pursuing STEM careers, or it can help to paint pictures of the inclusive STEM workforce the Nation aspires to achieve.

A number of exciting developments seek to change not only the way history has been written, but also help shape the future of who constitutes America’s STEM workforce. In 2014, the White House unveiled the Untold History of Women in Science and Technology site where female leaders from across the Administration share stories of their personal STEM ‘sheroes.’ Earlier this year, Wikipedia, which is among the leading online educational resources, launched a Year of Science initiative that aims to not only improve the quality of science articles on Wikipedia, but also expand Wikipedia’s representation of women scientists. Earlier this year, OSTP held an “Edit-A-Thon” during Black History Month to help source and share inspiring stories of African Americans who made important contributions in STEM.

Role models play an important role in shaping the future aspirations of youth and adults alike—they can help students envision themselves as STEM professionals, enhance perception of STEM careers, and boost confidence in studying STEM subjects. Katherine Johnson’s recognition by President Obama along with the plans to share her story mark a proud moment in American history—she is a role model that we are excited for the world to know.