Meet some of NASA's modern-day 'Hidden Figures'

Meet some of NASA's modern-day 'Hidden Figures'
Dawn Stanley is an engineering technical manager for the Space Launch System. (Source: WAFF)
Dawn Stanley is an engineering technical manager for the Space Launch System. (Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - "Hidden Figures" is up for several Academy Awards this Sunday. The movie focuses on a small group of African-American women in the early 1960's at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. They were  called "computers."

These "computers" came up with "new math" to fly a new path for John Glenn, America and the world.

This weekend, a lot of women at NASA who work on rocket hardware will be counting on Hollywood's "Hidden Figures" to bring home some hardware of its own.

Ruth Jones is a modest, modern-day "hidden figure."

Her job is mishap Investigator. She's only one of three people with that title within NASA, so if you see her, it's bad news.

"I just want to be known for my work," she said.

Jones is the second African-American woman to graduate in Alabama with a Ph.D. in physics.

She says knowing  your stuff and staying grounded will help you fly in every part of life, and Jones has the hardware to back up her words.

So does Dawn Stanley, who interfaces with so many as the engineering technical manager for NASA's Space Launch System.

"I think the role that I have of technical manager for SLS is a new role that many African-Americans and women may not have had in the past," she said.

Stanley and other black female leaders at Marshall Space Flight Center are building on the legacy of those "human computers" - those "hidden figures" - of the past.

"I am so amazed at their ability, their contributions, their perseverance, and I'm indebted to them and it's incumbent of me to take the next step and help the nation get to Mars as they helped get us to the moon," she said.

Stanley and Jones will be part of a red carpet event Friday at the Space and Rocket Center. This includes seeing the movie "Hidden Figures" and hearing from a panel of other modern day "hidden figures." It will start at 5:30 p.m. at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration's National Geographic Theater. Click here for more information.

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