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Hundreds of Cleveland Students Join Industry Leaders, Education Nonprofit for Screening of “Hidden Figures,” Discussion of STEM Opportunities

Event connects students and role models
CLEVELAND (May 15, 2017) — About 300 Cleveland Municipal School District sophomores spoke with scientists, engineers and other professionals from NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland State University and Evergreen Cooperatives about college and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math fields after watching a special screening of the critically acclaimed, box office hit “Hidden Figures.”
“We all need role models who can inspire us and show us that we can succeed,” said NMSI Program Manager Crystal Ward. “It’s especially important to see women and people of color in math and science fields and to help young people understand that STEM education benefits everyone regardless of the career path to which they inspire.”
Students at today’s event attend John Marshall, John Hays Architecture and John Hays Early College high schools – schools that partner with the National Math and Science Initiative to bring the nonprofit's proven College Readiness Program to students and teachers.
The program dramatically increases access to rigorous coursework for all students. It also increases the number of students taking and earning qualifying scores on Advanced Placement® math, science and English exams, which prepares them for college and career success.
The three-year CRP has benefitted students and teachers in more than 1,000 schools nationwide.
“We are helping close gaps in access and achievement in high-quality math, science and English courses so more students leave high school ready to succeed in their chosen path,” Ward said.
“Hidden Figures” reveals the untold history of the female African-American mathematicians and engineers who were integral to launching successful NASA missions in the 1960s, including astronaut John Glenn’s historic orbit around the Earth. The film sparked lively discussion between students and industry leaders.
Ashley Jones, a tenth grade student at John Hays Architecture, said today's movie screening and the professionals who spoke to the students helped her realize that people aren’t limited by the color of their skin or their gender. “What matters is what you want to do and what you’re trying to set out to be,” she said.
“It’s important for students to realize that STEM is what the world is about today," said Priscilla Mobley, education program specialist at NASA Glenn Research Center. "It’s important that students have role models that they can relate to. They need to see themselves in these non-traditional types of careers.”
NMSI launched its CRP program in Cleveland Municipal after the nonprofit secured a nearly $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Invest in Innovation (i3) competition. These funds have allowed NMSI to expand its College Readiness Program to nine additional urban and rural school districts across eight states. NMSI’s work in Cleveland also is supported by Arconic Foundation.