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She helped put a man on the moon. Now Katherine Johnson is getting her own movie.

Taraji P. Henson stars as space scientist Katherine Johnson.

She helped put a man on the moon. Now Katherine Johnson is getting her own movie.

Mathematician and NASA scientist Katherine Johnson isn't exactly a household name, but that may soon change.

Johnson, best known for her role calculating the trajectories for NASA's Mercury and Apollo missions by hand — including the moon landing — is one of the greatest American minds of all time.

And to think you may not have ever even heard about her.


Katherine Johnson. Photo by NASA.

Johnson's space science career began in 1953 at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, NASA's predecessor) at Langley Research Center's Guidance and Navigation Department. Johnson's title: computer. (Seriously, before computers were computers, really super-smart people like Johnson were computers.) Neat, right?

Now 97, Johnson is finally getting some much-deserved credit for her work, including an upcoming movie based on her life.

In 2015, President Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls.

And more than 10,000 people have signed on in support of making a "Women of NASA" Lego set featuring Johnson, Sally Ride, Mae Jemison, Margaret Hamilton, and Nancy Roman.

But the biggest boost to Johnson's name recognition is likely to come from "Hidden Figures," a movie starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe as Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, respectively. The film is based on the book of the same name, written by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Representation matters. History books can only tell part of the story, and they often leave out important characters.

Though jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are some of the fastest-growing career paths in the U.S., women make up just 14% of engineers nationwide.

While a single movie highlighting the lives of women of color working in a STEM field isn't likely to eliminate the representation gap, girls around the country will at least be made aware that yes, they can be mathematicians or engineers or scientists if they want to. At the very least, "Hidden Figures" might finally make Katherine Johnson the household name she always should have been.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."