Home VanguardSTEM WATCH NOW: Hidden Figures, Major Milestones with Margot Lee Shetterly (S3_E4)
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WATCH NOW: Hidden Figures, Major Milestones with Margot Lee Shetterly (S3_E4)


by the VanguardSTEM team


Hidden Figures is the true story of three black women mathematicians in the 1960s who were integral in helping the U.S. get to space.


For our #VanguardSTEM season finale, we sat down with the book’s (now turned movie!) author, Margot Lee Shetterly, to hear more about these women, but also about her and her journey to writing this untold story.

Listen in as Margot shares wisdom from her personal life and what she’s learned by sharing the “normal genius” of these brilliant black women in #STEM.

Our host, Dr. Jedidah Isler, has called this the book and movie of a generation and we can see why. If you haven’t read the book, do it now! And plan to see it on Christmas Day if you’re in an early release city and on January 6 worldwide. You won’t want to miss it!

We’ve taken the liberty to pull out some particularly powerful quotes from Margot on the season finale below.

  • On any fear she had about writing the book:

I never had any doubt that I was going to finish it. Not ever, not once. I never had any doubt that I was going to eventually figure it out. But, you know, I didn’t really know what I was doing.

  • On knowing when it’s time to make a career change:

I think a lot of it is not being afraid to do things you’ve never done before. It’s about understanding that you’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to have to walk backwards a little bit.

  • On where she feels she fits into the story:

I am the end product of this whole long line of history.

It is, to me, a love letter to Hampton Roads.

  • On the constant tension between self advancement versus collective advancement:

Does the world really need me to stay in this position as an engineer or would I be better served going to human resources and trying to open the door for many female professionals from all backgrounds? – Mary Jackson’s struggle after becoming an engineer

This is but a smattering of the deep wisdom that is in this episode, so if you missed it the first time, here’s your chance to watch. If you saw it already, watching again will bring even more encouragement!

Proper order of operations: watch this episode to meet Margot Shetterly, read the book so you know the depth of the story of Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson and then, for-goodness-sake, go see the movie!

Thanks again to Margot (and you!) for sharing time and space with us. We’ll leave you with a final quote from Margot that is something many of the VS fam has already worked hard to conquer and are winning at every day.

“You cannot be afraid to be the only one.” – Margot Lee Shetterly


We’d love to hear what you thought about Hidden Figures, so if after you’ve done any of the above, you want to submit a written, audio or visual piece for consideration to VanguardSTEM, drop us a line at hello@vanguardstem.com.

Copyright © 2016 by The SeRCH Foundation

All rights reserved. The content above or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of #VanguardSTEM except for the use of brief quotations, with attribution, and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to #VanguardSTEM, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at hello@vanguardstem.com


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