Novel: Hidden Figures

Author: Margot Lee Shetterly

Dorothy Vaughan is a black mathematician who worked as a human computer at Langley in 1943. She is known for being the organization’s first black section head and a pioneer for women in the field.

Character Trait: Pragmatic and Fiercely Devoted
Dorothy Vaughan is pragmatic and fiercely devoted to her church and children. She takes the job as a mathematician at NACA despite her fears of leaving her small town life. She embraces the opportunity to make more money to support her family, and her devotion to them is a driving force behind her work. She takes immense financial and personal risk by buying an apartment in Hampton Roads and moving her children there so she can work at Langley.

Character Trait: Ambitious and Resourceful
Dorothy Vaughan is ambitious and resourceful. She starts her career as a math teacher and enjoys the challenge of being a teacher. However, she regrets passing up the opportunity to go to graduate school at Howard University. She sees working at Langley as a rare opportunity for a second chance and applies for the job. She succeeds at Langley due to her impeccable work, strong work ethic, and professional manner. When her role as head of West Computers becomes unnecessary, she finds another way to make herself relevant and learns programming.

Character Trait: Vocal Force for Equality
Dorothy Vaughan is a vocal force for equality at NACA. She fights to make sure women are paid fairly for their titles and duties. She celebrates twenty years of service right after the March on Washington and is proud of what she and the West Computers accomplished. However, she knows there is still a lot of work to be done for equality.

Dorothy Vaughan is a gifted mathematician and a pioneer for black women in the field. She is ambitious, resourceful, pragmatic, fiercely devoted, and a vocal force for equality. Despite facing many obstacles, she managed to succeed and help other women gain success as well.

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