Hillside, Glenfield, Bradford Meet Notable Women

Hillside, Glenfield, Bradford Meet Notable Women
Posted on 03/17/2021

Montclair students have been treated to meets with some notable women and it’s only halfway through Women’s History Month!

NASA engineer 

mars rover

Hillside fifth grade students in Peter Bongiovanni’s, Christian Hart’s, and Sheryl Le’s classes participated in an “out of this world” experience. Elizabeth Duffy (pictured above), a Mechatronics Engineer II at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, delivered a presentation about her most recent work on the Perseverance rover that is currently on Mars.

 Mars rover zoom chat

 zoom chat zoom chat zoom chat

Duffy worked on what is essentially the hand of the robotic arm, which is playing an integral role in collecting the rock and sediment samples that will help scientists examine if ancient life existed on Mars. This presentation helped Hillside students celebrate Women’s History Month by learning about Duffy’s historic accomplishment and even made strong connections to their Influential African American projects that they worked on during the month of February. For example, some students researched Lonnie Johnson, Mae Jemison, and Katherine Johnson, all of whom have ties to NASA. Students were fascinated by the fact that they can say Elizabeth Duffy and Lonnie Johnson both worked in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory! They were also able to better understand the contributions she made to the Perseverance rover, as her team was able to achieve a monumental task during a pandemic. Duffy told students what it was like when she and the Perseverance team was received a congratulatory call from President Joe Biden who told them they “...created a dream for millions and millions of young kids and young Americans.”

daughter of NASA worker on zoom

Katherine Moore (pictured above), daughter Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician portrayed in the film Hidden Figures, addressed over 250 audience members at Glenfield Middle School. Moore shared her experiences growing up with her extraordinary mother with the seventh graders, their families and the staff. She started by telling the audience that as a young girl, she never really knew what her mother did for a living because she was so humble. According to Moore, “She never talked about herself…she was just ‘Mom.’” Moore also explained to the students that it was extremely rare for an African-American woman in the 1950s to pursue a career in Math and Science. However, one of her college professors identified her academic talent and encouraged her to pursue a career as a Research Mathematician. The rest, as they say, is history! Throughout the presentation, Moore encouraged the students to work hard, remain true to themselves and to follow their dreams.  

misty copeland holding book

It may have been Bedtime & Books for Bradford students but they had the opportunity to hear Misty Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, read her book "Bunheads." Copeland (pictured above) talked about taking her first dance class at 13, expressing herself through dance, working hard and enjoying performing as a ballerina.

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