From Hidden to Modern- the figures of NASA at the National Math Festival

The Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures highlighted the women who were instrumental in launching John Glenn into orbit. NASA is committed to giving the current female engineers the recognition they deserve.

The Modern Figure program of NASA recognizes the contributions of African American women scientists and engineers. One honoree is Deputy Director of Astrophysics Andrea Razzaghi. Razzaghi has been with the agency for almost 32 years, and currently manages over 20 missions and partnerships. The NASA director will be at the National Math Festival Saturday, April 22nd to explain how math makes the awe-inspiring missions possible.

The National Math Festival will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown D.C. and is free to the public. Other prominent female mathematicians and engineers will also be featured. Dr. Talitha Washington, a tenured Associate Professor of Mathematics at Howard University, is slated to give a presentation regarding Hidden Figures. Washington will demonstrate how the film’s primary heroine and Medal of Freedom recipient Katherine Johnson helped the U.S. win the Space Race. She will also explore how other women aided Johnson in becoming a research mathematician in a racially segregated era.

More women have been recently motivated to go into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The heroes of Hidden Figures are thought to be largely responsible for this. The Modern Figures of NASA are sure to empower even more. 

"I was once asked by a young woman studying engineering how to deal with the difference in confidence she sees in the men in her class," said Razzaghi. "I told her even though they may appear confident, they have the same insecurities we do." Don't miss her inspiring speech and more at the National Math Festival!

This article is sponsored by the National Math Festival. Check out this free event Saturday, Aprill 22nd!

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