An international collaboration to inspire girls in science

Attendees of the Hidden Figures screening and panel on Feb. 8.
Attendees of the Hidden Figures screening and panel on Feb. 8.

The 2016 biographical drama film Hidden Figures shows audiences the story of the three African American mathematicians Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. Their pivotal work during the height of the Space Race at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.), despite the gender and racial divides they faced, is an inspiration to many. It aptly served as an ideal backdrop for the commemoration of the Week of Women and Girls in Science.

In collaboration with the embassies of France, Germany, Italy and George Washington University, the Children’s National Research Institute hosted a free screening of the film on Feb. 8, 2023, at the Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus theatre for K-12 students and their families. The event was a special gathering that also saw a conversation with inspiring female scientists from Children’s National, George Washington University and other organizations like the United States Navy and the U.S. Department of State Office of Japanese Affairs.

Jasmine Forbes and Cecelia Rech speak with girls during the event.
Jasmine Forbes and Cecelia Rech speak with girls during the event.

Pamela M. Norris, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Research at George Washington University, hosted a panel that also featured: Courtney L. Hill, Ph.D., Foreign Affairs Officer at the U.S. Department of State Office of Japanese Affairs, Stephanie A. Gomez, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Cancer and Immunology Research, as well as Jasmine A. Forbes and Cecelia R. Rech. both Midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy.

Their conversation included topics such as the importance of mentorship in the panelists’ careers and advice they might have for the girls in the audience who were interested in a career in a S.T.E.M. field. “Keep an open mind and let your passion drive you,” said Courtney Hill to the audience.

Jasmine Forbes echoed similar sentiments, telling the girls in the audience not to put themselves “in a box.”

After the screening and panel, a group of girls spoke with Forbes and Rech about their experiences and advice. Adorned with stickers of famous female scientists such as Rosalind Franklin and Rachel Carson, the girls headed out of the theater, telling each other that the event “was really fun."

The event was one of several events hosted in the area celebrating the Week of Women and Girls in Science and the United Nations' (U.N.) 8th annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science on Feb. 11. Participants were provided information on programs such as Discover SCIENCE with Dr. Bear, the U.S. Department of State “Hidden No More” Program, the U.N. International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the N.I.H. Science Education Partnership Award (S.E.P.A.) and the U.S.A. Science & Engineering Festival.

The week itself was also a kickoff of the launch of the Women in Science Diplomacy Club at the Italian Ambassadors’ Residency on Feb. 7. The mission of the club is to promote the gender perspective in science diplomacy. The collaboration was also mentioned at the Italian Ambassador’s Residence on Feb. 7.

The German Embassy in Washington, D.C. also hosted a forum of an international group of female scientists discussing their research and career path on Feb. 9. The closing reception for the week of events was hosted at the Residence of France later that evening.

The club and events were acknowledged at the 8th International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in the opening remarks of Executive Director H.R.H. Dr. Nisreen El-shimite.

 

Contact: William-Jose Velez Gonzalez | 202-545-2704

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