ERIC Number: EJ1171115
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Jan-2
Learning from a Moonshot: What's Next for College Summer Reading?
Strong, Alexandra Coso; Lynch, Caitrin
New England Journal of Higher Education, Jan 2018
Each year, colleges around the nation select a common reading book for their incoming students or, in the case of Olin College of Engineering, for the entire college community. In 2017, the institution selected "Hidden Figures" as a reading meant to provide a common intellectual experience, illustrate the vigor and breadth of the college's curriculum, and lend itself to a convocation discussion at the start of the school year. "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly shares the stories of four women of color who worked as human "computers" at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, at the start of the space program. Katherine Johnson, who turned 99 this past August, was "the girl" who astronaut John Glenn called on in 1961 to verify that the computer's calculations were correct. These calculations would dictate the trajectory that would bring his orbital flight capsule safely back to Earth. Through these stories, readers learn about these heroes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and the invisible challenges they faced both inside and outside of work. This article reflects on how "Hidden Figures" provided the opportunity to engage with students and colleagues on topics they might have not otherwise prioritized at the start of a school year.
Descriptors: College Students, Summer Programs, Reading Materials, African Americans, Females, Space Sciences, STEM Education, Barriers, Racial Bias, Gender Bias, Social Bias, Social Justice, United States History, Role Models
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.nebhe.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A