Return to Headlines

Through 'Hidden Figures,' Pittsburgh students get glance at what could be

Some 200 Pittsburgh Public Schools students will mark Presidents' Day by seeing a movie about three African-American women who helped send NASA astronauts into space.

Melinda Angeles started a GoFundMe page with the goal of raising enough money to send low-income kids to see “Hidden Figures.” She said she got the idea from Washington-based Women Who Code, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers that was sponsoring a similar screening.

“I used to live in Maryland and was involved in a lot of different tech groups there,” said Angeles, a Shaler native. “I thought this was such a great idea and wanted to bring it to Pittsburgh.”

She contacted the Pittsburgh chapter of Girl Develop It, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide opportunities for women to learn web and software development. They were happy to help, she said.

“When Melinda approached me, I thought was a great idea. I wished I had come up with it myself,” said Marylou Lenhart, co-chapter leader of Girl Develop It Pittsburgh.

The film tells the story of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson, three African-American mathematicians who worked for NASA and helped John Glenn's space launch. “Hidden Figures” is nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and was the top-grossing Best Picture nominee of 2016.