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‘Hidden Figures’ author will speak at ‘One Book One Northwestern’ events Oct. 17

Margot Lee Shetterly says diversity of voices in science is necessary for innovation

Margot Shetterly is author of the 'One Book One Northwestern' selection for 2019-20
Margot Shetterly is author of the 'One Book One Northwestern' selection for 2019-20

Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race,” will visit the Northwestern University Chicago and Evanston campuses on Oct. 17 to discuss the power of human innovation when prejudices are set aside.

Her book, “Hidden Figures,” was selected as the all-campus read for the 2019-20 One Book One Northwestern program. Shetterly’s One Book keynote talks are free and open to the public. General seating is available on a first- come, first-served basis.  

This year’s book was selected with the 150 Years of Women at Northwestern in mind. The year-long initiative celebrates groundbreaking women/womxn who have taken risks, charted their own course and inspired change.

Shetterly’s book brings to light achievements of previously unsung heroes Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who overcame sexism and racism in 1960s America to make history and pave the way for generations of scientists.

“Highlighting the overlooked contributions of women in the STEM fields is especially fitting during Northwestern’s 150 anniversary year of coeducation,” said One Book One Northwestern Director Nancy Cunniff. “Without Shetterly’s book, the public might still be unaware of the vital contributions of these pioneering mathematicians and engineers. 

“Our hope is that the One Book One Northwestern and 150 Years of Women programming will inspire our community to reflect on the contributions of women/womxn at Northwestern and in the world, and to become a catalyst for change,” Cunniff said.

Program details are as follows:

Chicago campus

Oct. 17, Noon to 1:30 p.m. (doors open at 11:30 a.m.)
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Thorne Auditorium
357 E. Chicago Ave.

Evanston campus

Oct. 17, 4:30 to 6 p.m. (doors open at 4 p.m.)
Northwestern Technological Institute, Ryan Family Auditorium
2145 Sheridan Rd.

Joining Shetterly in conversation for both programs, are Associate Provost for Graduate Education and One Book faculty co-chair Teresa K. Woodruff  and Heather Pinkett, associate professor in the department of molecular biosciences at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.  A book signing will follow the Evanston campus program.

Margot Lee Shetterly  

Writer, researcher and entrepreneur Margot Lee Shetterly is the author of “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.” She also is founder of the Human Computer Project, a digital archive telling the stories of NASA’s “Human Computers,” women from all backgrounds whose worked 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 currently is a scholar-in-residence at the University of Virginia, with joint appointments at the McIntire School of Commerce and the School of Engineering. 

One Book One Northwestern

The One Book One Northwestern programming is sponsored by the Office of the President and will include many related films, field trips, lectures and other programming throughout the coming academic year. Event information is available on the One Book One Northwestern website. The campus-wide read is chosen by the University’s One Book selection committee. 

150 Years of Women

Northwestern University marks the 150th anniversary of coeducation in 2019-20. To mark this historic anniversary, Northwestern will host events and programming across the University and around the world celebrating the women/womxn who have led the struggle to open doors to create greater access and opportunity for all who follow. Programming information and stories of individuals who are catalysts for change at Northwestern are available on the 150 Years of Women website.

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