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VanguardSTEM Book Club Week 2 Challenge

VanguardSTEM Book Club Week 2 Challenge


“Negotiating racial boundaries was a daily fact of Negro life. Mary [Jackson] wasn’t naive about the segregation at Langley — it was no different than anywhere in town. … It was the proximity to professional equality that gave the slight such a surprising and enduring sting.”


These are the words of Margot Lee Shetterly as she described a humiliating experience that Mary Jackson had one day while at work at NACA (NASA). She wanted to use the restroom, which during Jim Crow, was it’s own peculiar punishment. When she asked the white women whom she worked alongside, they shrugged and told her they didn’t know. “How would they know how to find her bathroom?”


#VSdoesHF Week 2 Challenge

This week’s grand prize challenge is based around chapters 8 – 14 of Hidden Figures. Last week we read chapters 1 – 7 and focused on Dorothy Vaughan’s oft-overlooked but critical contribution to Kathryn Johnson’s, and by extension NASAs, success. This week we’re zooming out a bit to talk about some of the overarching themes present in these chapters. Namely, the racial aggression that Dorothy, Mary and Katherine faced and how they individually handled it. We’ll get to that in our challenge question, but here’s the full list of action items that must be completed by Sunday, November 27, 2016 at midnight ET.

  • Post a picture of your favorite quote in this section of the book on twitter or instagram. Tag @vanguardstem and use the HT #VSdoesHF
  • Tag a #WoCinSTEM on your preferred social media platform with #VanguardSTEM #VSdoesHF and #HiddenFigures. Tell us why she should be recognized.
  • Read chapters 8-14 in Hidden Figures.
  • Answer the following question on your own or during the fb chat on Sunday, November 27:
    • Was the racial aggression ever-present in Jim Crow society present at NACA where the black computers worked? How did they contend with their surroundings and how was their situation the same or different than what we face in the STEM workplace now?

Thank you to those of you who participated in the week one challenge. Continue your engagement so that you can remain in the running for the grand prize for the contest, which is a trip to NYC (hotel and $$ toward airfare included) to see a pre-screening of Hidden Figures and attend a post-show panel with Margot Lee Shetterly. You don’t want to miss this opportunity!

*Image Credit: The Mic; Hidden Figures.

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