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CHIPS Articles: Norfolk Naval Shipyard Partners With SPAWAR, NASA, SWE, and AIAA To Host Private Screening of "Hidden Figures"

Norfolk Naval Shipyard Partners With SPAWAR, NASA, SWE, and AIAA To Host Private Screening of "Hidden Figures"
By Kristi Britt - March 7, 2017
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Students were treated to a private screening of "Hidden Figures" thanks to Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) and other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) organizations in Hampton Roads Feb. 25.

NNSY partnered with Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Systems Center Atlantic STEM Outreach, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and other private donors to host the private screening for Hampton Roads students nominated through their efforts in STEM at AMC Lynnhaven 18 Theaters in Virginia Beach.

Based on true events, "Hidden Figures" tells the story of the African American women in the 1960s space program at Langley Research Center. The screening was a partnership in celebrating African American History Month and National Engineering Month in Hampton Roads to bring "future figures" together and show them how their passion for STEM can translate into a future career.

Before the screening, opening remarks were provided by guest speaker NASA Senior Technologist Dr. Tahani Amer. "We are here to inspire young ladies to be the next scientists and engineers," said Amer. "You have to work hard at what you love and find mentors who believe in you and help you along your path. Whatever your passion is, be sure to follow it. If you put your mind to it, you can be whatever it is you want to be. You just have to take that first step."

Immediately following the movie presentation, there was a panel discussion with representatives from each partnering organization during which students asked questions about STEM. The panel included Dr. Lydia Simmons, the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at NNSY; Information Systems Technician 1st Class Vorie Miller stationed at SPAWAR; Samantha Wright, Electrical Engineer from SPAWAR and the co-founder of Children Ready to Empower and Achieve Through Education (C.R.E.A.T.E.); Louise Slate, Vice President of Bluestone Environmental Group; and Karen Berger, an aerospace engineer working in the Supersonic/Hypersonic Testing Branch at NASA.

"We at Norfolk Naval Shipyard love spending time with the students and seeing them explore their passions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics," said Simmons. "Our shipyard has a robust outreach program as well as partnerships with various local schools where we engage the students in tutoring and provide them mentorship. We want to make the community aware of what's at NNSY and what we can do to help these students build a career in what they love."

The mission of Norfolk Naval Shipyard is to repair, overhaul and refuel the most technologically advanced warships in the world: the ships and submarines of the United States Navy.

Located on the southern branch of the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth, Virginia, Norfolk Naval Shipyard comprises more than 800 acres, five dry docks, and four miles of waterfront.

Today NNSY is the fourth largest employer in Hampton Roads, with more than 10,500 full-time civilian employees and 750 military personnel.

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