If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Hidden Figures’, then you know a little bit about Katherine Johnson. She’s made an impact on civil rights and space exploration, and that impact is felt right here in the ‘Rocket City’.
“Today an icon has been lost. Katherine Johnson was someone who was incredibly important in her time. She was important to not only blazing a trail for people of color to follow her in STEM careers, but actually – providing profoundly important analysis work,” said Marshall Space Flight Center Historian, Brian Odom.
Her legacy lives on even in her death. Odom says Johnson’s work has inspired people, much like engineer Dr. Shelia – Nash Stevenson. She was the first African-American woman to earn a Phd in physics in the state of Alabama.
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“Dr. Stevenson is someone who knew Katherine Johnson. She tells how important it was that she had a model like that, that she could look to,” said Odom.
However, Odom says maintaining opportunity when it comes to inclusion is ongoing, and doesn’t stop now. “Diversity inclusion is very important to NASA, but it’s something that’s never fully formalized. It’s something that is never finished. We’re always looking for ways to improve diversity and inclusion,” said Odom.
Remembering pioneering mathematician Katherine Johnson
NASA also releasing this statement in part:
“We’re saddened by the passing of celebrated ‘Hidden Figures’ mathematician Katherine Johnson.Today, we celebrate her 101 years of life and honor her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers.”