Novel: Hidden Figures
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is a passionate and outspoken Black mathematician who works at the Langley Research Center as a computer in the Flight Research Division. She is a brilliant student who skips grades in school and is smart, talented, and charming.
Character Trait – Fearless and Determined:
Katherine refuses to use the colored bathrooms or allow prejudice to make her feel small, even when she faces racism at work. She is determined to succeed in her career as a mathematician despite the obstacles in her way. For example, she pushes to have a report published in her name and becomes the first woman to publish a research paper on space flight. She is also fearless when it comes to taking on new challenges, like when astronaut John Glenn asks her to double-check the calculations for his flight trajectory and landing.
Character Trait – Charming and Personable:
Katherine’s personality is described as a “sparkplug,” and she manages to charm everyone she comes into contact with. Due to her lighter skin and pragmatic attitude, she has an easier time getting along with her white coworkers than some of her Black colleagues. Her charming personality helps her build relationships and gain respect among her colleagues at NASA.
Character Trait – Balancing Education, Career, and Family:
Throughout her career, Katherine is constantly balancing her education, career, and family life. She attends advanced classes at West Virginia State College and is asked to integrate West Virginia University’s graduate school. She becomes a teacher before taking a risk and moving her family to Newsome Park for a job as a mathematician at Langley. Despite the challenges, she is able to succeed in her career and help with the mission to get a man on the moon.
Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is a fearless, charming, and determined Black mathematician who breaks down barriers in her field. She is a trailblazer who proves that anything is possible with hard work and dedication, and her story is an inspiration to us all.