California Educator

November / December 2016

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Page 27 of 59

W h o k n e w t h a t a l o v e o f number crunching and cal- culations is the stuff of which history is made? is would be the passion of a group of African Ameri- can women who were called into service as "human computers" during labor shortages caused by World War II. T h e w o r k o f t h e s e c o l l e g e - e d u c a t e d women, many of them former math teach- ers, for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, the predecessor to NASA) paved the way for the modern-day space exploration that put American astro- nauts in orbit. The accomplishments of these human computers, including Katherine Johnson, n ow 9 8 , a n d th e l a t e D o ro thy Va u g h a n and Mar y Jackson , despite Virginia's Jim Crow laws, are detailed in Hidden Figures, a re cently rel eased b o ok by Margot L ee Shetterly, and in an upcoming film of the How a brainy group of African American women broke barriers to take us into space Our STEM Stars stories highlight pioneers and educators who have forged paths in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The efforts by educators Camie Walker (page 30) and Jason Diodati (page 33) coincide with the State Board of Education's recent approval of a new science framework based on the Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 (page 32). STEM education is taking off! 26 NASA research mathematician Katherine Johnson at her desk at NASA Langley Research Center. (Courtesy NASA.) To the Moon and Back By Dina Martin

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