This year’s Science and Technology Week is cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation and the Illinois governor’s ban on events with over 250 people. The health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and audience members is always our top priority.
To help celebrate the 20th anniversary of Science and Technology Week at Illinois State University, best-selling author of the book, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, Margot Lee Shetterly will give a keynote address at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center.
The event, which is part of the Illinois State University Speaker Series, is sponsored by the College of Applied Science and Technology, the Harold K. Sage Fund, and the Illinois State University Foundation. The talk is free and open to the public.
The college will also host a free showing of the film Hidden Figures at 6 p.m. April 13, at the Normal Theatre.
Shetterly’s New York Times bestselling book explores the true story of the black women mathematicians at NASA who helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. The film adaptation of her book—which became the number one movie in America—stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae in the role of NASA pioneers Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, and Octavia Spencer was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
Shetterly is also the founder of the Human Computer Project, a digital archive telling the stories of all of NASA’s “Human Computers,” women from all backgrounds whose work tipped the balance in favor of the United States in WWII, the Cold War, and the Space Race. Shetterly’s father was among the early generation of black NASA engineers and scientists, and she had direct access to NASA executives and the women featured in the book. She grew up around the historically black Hampton University—where some of the women in Hidden Figures studied.
Shetterly’s research has been supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. She is currently a scholar-in-residence at the University of Virginia, with joint appointments at the McIntire School of Commerce and the School of Engineering.
The Illinois State University Speaker Series seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process.