Figuras Tectas

Title is Latin for “hidden figures” 😉

I just came from watching a screening of the movie, Hidden Figures and… I feel so inspired by these women.

Okay first off, there was this lady sitting right in front of me who would not just sit stiff. AND she overreacted to everything that happened in the movie. She found every single thing funny, and when things were actually funny, she wouldn’t laugh. She danced to every single song and… it was just alot. I was so distracted by her. Even a girl behind me commented on the fact that not everything in the movie was funny…

But BESIDES that, the movie was absolute art.

I loved that it was based on a true story, the idea that these women are finally being recognized  for all the work they did for NASA (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson). It’s crazy just how much we go through history knowing some of the big-shot names, the huge supervisors of it all, yet the people working behind the magic are not recognized. For example, Rosalind Franklin is hardly ever mentioned in biology textbooks (though, I believe people are working to change that) because she was a woman just working in a lab. But her x-ray picture of DNA helped to ultimately find its true structure. But is she the one credited for it? Nope. Watson and Crick, the people who stole the x-ray picture off of her desk, were the ones who ended up getting the Nobel Prizes for the discovery. In that time, women were not allowed to receive Nobel Peace Prizes. Unfortunately, Franklin was not recognized until after she had died.

I did not even know about her until 9th grade of high school. All that time, I was told “Watson and Crick”, “Watson and Crick discovered DNA!” “Watson and Crick found the helical structure!”

Since the beginning of time, women have been over-worked and under-appreciated for the work they do. This movie just brought up so many more feelings within me about the idea of science and women in science, especially colored women.

These women did some incredible things for NASA. Without Katherine Johnson’s phenomenal mathematical skills, NASA would not have been able to put the first American man into space. Without Dorothy Vaughan, women probably would not fight for the right to demand a higher job title and higher status. Without Mary Jackson, colored women would probably not think it possible to become an aeronautical engineer, or an engineer at that. These women changed America’s (and the world’s) idea of the STEM field. America used to look through a black-and-white lens, but these women put color into it.

Over the past few weeks, I really thought about the idea of being a physics major. After taking physics last semester and being in my second semester, I realized just how much I love the science. It’s the only class that I actually have opened the textbook and actually enjoyed reading it. That has NEVER happened for me in a STEM class. I remember how back in high school, I was actually really good at physics. I was one of the few people in my class (only 3 of us) who passed the AP Physics exam.

Last week, I was walking down the physics hallway, and they showed a picture of their graduates. Their classes are TINY. Their graduating class is about 25 students (compared to my bio graduating class of over , and, to no surprise, they were all white males.

I was a little surprised at how small the department was, because the professors all seem like geniuses in the field, and they are all super enthusiastic about it. I would think that there would be more. NOPE.

I have also always been fascinated by the idea of an engineer, the idea of space, the idea of being able to take someone and send them out of the earth. I thought (and still think) aeronautical engineers are the coolest people on the planet. I remember going to the Aerospace museum in DC over Thanksgiving break 2015 and I was like a fat kid in a candy store.

The place was amazing!

They had airplanes hanging from the sky, biographies of the world’s most renown flights, they even had an entire exhibit dedicated to Amelia Earhart.

Now, no one really knows this, but Amelia Earhart is one of my favorite people in world history. I don’t know what it was, but her disappearance was the most fascinating thing to me. How did she just disappear and no one know where she was? When I was young, I used to come up with alternative ideas as to what may have happened to her. I thought that maybe she decided to reside at a nearby island.

I have always thought, “What if I became a physics major?”

First off, I would be highly under-estimated, like the women in the movie. None of the men thought that these women were worth much. They al prejudged their intelligence only to realize just how important and needed they are in the field.

Anyways, it’s still an idea.

Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, a black female physicist who is breaking boundaries all over the place in STEM research, is my role model right now (besides Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie, of course), and she has me thinking, “Why don’t I just change my major?” she was the 76th black female in the US to get a PhD in Physics. I thought that was crazy. Where are the women? Why are the numbers so small?

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Two Passions in One Week

So many things have happened in the past week! I feel like I have started almost every post this way, but it’s true. College is starting to become a little more interesting.
So let me start with the most recent event.
I am still writing up my Genocide paper for my Anthropology class, and as I am writing about it, I have learned that I really do love learning about this subject. Any subject where a large amount of people died from either their government or an environmental force will catch my attention. I am writing about the Rwandan genocide that happened during the 1990s, and I have delved so far into the topic that I still have no idea how I am going to finish this paper. My professor gave me a 2-3 page limit, but I just cannot see how I can fit so much information within those boundaries.
I found this book online that talked about how war rape was such a huge thing during this genocide, and the book gave accounts of women who were victims of it. They shared their stories along with what happened to them during this time and how it has still affected them today. I was only given a few pages to read from the book, but now I am so interested in it that I am going to look for the book in the library. I now was to read so many more books about the women along with other victims of these happenings.
From my research, I have learned that about 250,000-500,000 women were raped by soldiers and the Hutu people. From that number, an astonishing 70% of those who lived tested HIV positive. I was shocked by these statistics, and it is still exceedingly hard to wrap my head around it.
It’s crazy to see how much you will learn by just reading.
And in the book, the women also shared how they all bore children from these rapes, and how hard it is for me to look at their children and not see the man who had raped them. I felt for these women, but I was even more moved by the fact that not a single woman chose to abort the pregnancy.
One thing that all the women seemed to do was place their children before their own lives. They all held a deep fear that they would die before their children and they would be left as orphans. I wondered what their government was doing to save these children and to help their people. Was the government still in denial that the genocide had even happened? Did they even want to help their people?
I have been searching for a club on campus that would begin a fund to help these women who were victims of war rape and who now have children that they must take care of. I have also been searching for a club that will inform people on the effects of genocide. I don’t believe that people know the severity and that people even know that genocide is predictable and preventable.
Maybe I should be the one to start the group. Maybe that’s the group that my school is looking for, though we already have too many clubs to even count.

 

The other passion that I found was a passion for chemistry. Now, many people call me crazy for actually calling Orgo my favorite class. Since high school, I have heard the horror stories involving organic chemistry and molecules.

But then I got to the class… and I was pleasantly surprised.

I loved it!

I loved the molecules that we are learning, and I love how we can synthesize anything we want after taking only one full year of organic chemistry. It was like candy for me.

I knew that I was always into making things. I loved working with my hands.

I have always loved DIY projects, I built toy houses for my dolls. I would create posters. I loved when science fair came around when I was little because I loved designing my display board. I loved crocheting and making new things. I loved fixing things too such as anytime when something was broken in the house. I loved using tools. I also kept a little collage of pictures that I drew where I designed my own pumps and heels. I loved arts and crafts.

I just loved working with my hands.

I think that is why I love orgo so much, and the lab that goes with it. I love how I can mix different chemicals together to create different molecules. I loved how I could make structures depending on the solvents I used. It was all really fun for me.

This is why I want to double major in chemistry and biology, but I honestly believe that I am hanging onto biology only because I have already fulfilled most of the requirements for it.

I love everything about it, and I am so excited to take more class in it.

So here are my two passions, and boy, does it feel good to find things that you love.

Hopefully, I can come back and read these posts to remember what I love.