A Day At The White House: The Hidden Figures In Space Exploration

foxmovies-hidden-figures-movie-space-explorationIt is a huge honor to have received an invitation from the White House to attend an event today (Thursday December 15, 2016) that highlights the hidden figures in the history of space exploration. Being recognized for my work with The Mars Generation in advancing human space exploration and exciting students about science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) with an invite to the White House is very exciting!

I was asked NOT to talk about this amazing invite until the event started today. And as you can imagine that has been very difficult. But finally the day has arrived. So stay tuned for a lot of updates!

I will be posting video, photos and updates throughout the day today as the event unfolds. Please feel free to ask questions for the panels and speakers on my social media channels and I will try to get them answered.

The event will feature the stories of individuals who have made significant contributions to human space flight, space science, and innovation but who have not often had their stories told. The event will also include a screening and Q&A with the cast and crew of the movie Hidden Figures and remarks from Administration officials including Michelle Obama!

Agenda for Hidden Figures In Space Exploration White House Event:

10:30 AM Welcome

  • Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President

10:35 AM Q&A: Four Eras of Hidden Figures in Space Exploration

  • Moderator: Megan Smith, U.S. CTO
  • Panelist 1: Dava Newman, Deputy Administrator, NASA
  • Panelist 2: Yvonne Cagle, NASA Astronaut
  • Panelist 3: Debbie Martinez, NASA Langley

11:10 AM Image of STEM and Introduction of Hidden Figures Film

  • Dr. Jo Handelsman, Associate Director for Science, OSTP
  • Ted Melfi, Hidden Figures Director

11:15 AM Screening of Hidden Figures
The movie, Hidden Figures, will be released on December 25, 2016 by 20th Century Fox. A description of the movie from the Fox Movies website:

HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

1:40 PM Q&A with the Cast of Hidden Figures

  • Moderator: Dr. Knatokie Ford, Senior Policy Advisor, OSTP
  • Taraji P. Henson, Actress
  • Octavia Spencer, Actress
  • Janelle Monae, Actress
  • Kevin Costner, Actor
  • Ted Melfi, Director
  • Mimi Valdes, Producer
  • Margot Lee Shetterly, Author, Hidden Figures (Book)

2:25 PM Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama


  1. Susan Peterson says

    Hi Abby- this looks like it was an amazing day! I teach 9th graders at Minneapolis South High School and am working at sparking their interest in STEM. I am trying to put together a field trip to see “Hidden Figures”. We can possibly get funding for it by making it part of an “event” like having a speaker. I know you are busy but was wondering if we could even set up a “Skype” type event with you and South students.

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