movies

Taylor Richardson Does it Again: $100,000 Raised For Girls to See A Wrinkle In Time

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This was edited on March 7th, 2017 at 9:07PM

 

In case you missed it, when Hidden Figures released in 2016, Taylor Richardson was the girl who raised over $20,000 so that 1000 girls could see the movie for free.  Her hope was to encourage girls to get into STEM by being able to watch the likes of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson on the big screen. 

 

 
 

    When A Wrinkle in Time was announced, a movie based on the hit middle-grade sci-fi from 1962, Taylor Richardson did the same thing.  Only this time, she raised $50,000 for girls to see the movie for free when it releases on March 9th, 2018.

 

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    Why was Taylor so enthused about girls seeing A Wrinkle in Time in theaters?  She explained on her GoFundMe page.

 

    “1. It shows young, black girls deserving a chance to be a part of the scifi cultural canon,”   She begins.  2. It has a female protagonist in a science fiction film. A brown girl front and center who looks like me in the role of Meg, a girl traveling to different planets and encountering beings and situations that I’d never seen a girl of color in. 3. Most impressive and importantly, it’s a fantasy film that is not about some white boys fighting evil, but about a black girl overcoming it.”

 

 
 

    Since the start of her campaign on November 13th, for Taylor everything has been a crazy and memorable ride.  Disney caught sight of her, and as a result, Taylor was able to attend the premiere.  She was able to meet the director of the film,  Ava DuVernay, actress Oprah Winfrey, and actor Chris Pine, among others.

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    Notable people who donated to her campaign included JJ Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath.  “Thanks to the kindness of many of you and a very generous donation from JJ Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath,”  Taylor wrote in an update on her GoFundMe. “I have exceeded my goal to send a 1000 girls 2 see the upcoming movie A Wrinkle In Time!”

 

 

    On top of that, aforementioned actor Chris Pine, who stars in the film as Dr. Alex Murray (the main character’s — Meg Murray’s — father), matched Taylor’s raised $25,000 — bringing Taylor’s efforts to her massive $50,000 to send girls to watch the movie, as well as help them purchase and read the original novel.  

 

 
 
 
 

    We applaud Taylor for her constant efforts and constant successes in bringing more and more girls into the world of STEM through positive media.

 

EDIT:  In an incredible update -- Oprah Winfrey, who stars in the movie as Mrs. Which, matched the $50,000 Taylor Richardson made -- giving Taylor's GoFundMe a over $100,000!  As of 9:00pm on March 7th, the GoFundMe total is $100,639!

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of all things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

 

We Watched the Mars Generation on Netflix - Here's What We Thought

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The moon was the first step. Ever since, we've been looking to Mars.

 

One day, someone will land a foot on Mars. That's what we're heading towards. Science, technology, and people, are all heading the same direction. There will be a generation of people to step on the red planet -- and that will be the Mars Generation.

 

The Mars Generation is a non profit organization that was founded by Abigail Harrison (better known online as Astronaut Abby) back in 2015.  This year, the program raised over $11K to help send kids in poverty to space camp so that they could learn about STEM, and also to help encourage physical activity. The program itself was something that FemSTEM supported itself, and we were able to help raise $115 towards the cause thanks to our readers.

 

So, after this was all said and done, I got a chance to sit down and watch the Netflix and TIME documentary on The Mars Generation. Parts of the movie got me excited and riveted, while other parts created somewhat of a lull.

 

The movie itself has a 6.6/10 rating on IMDb as of the writing of this article.  That's where I would place the movie myself.  Let's talk about the positives first.

 

Positive Aspects of the Mars Generation

 

The movie was very good at getting you excited about the prospect of humankind heading to Mars. As the movie pointed out, a lot of people have forgotten that NASA even exists these days. People don't think we're going to be doing anymore space travel, but that, of course, is quite the opposite of what humankind really has planned. It reminded the viewer that NASA had huge plans and that they were taking as many steps as possible towards that plan (even with the tiny amount of government funding they have).

 

When the documentary showed the children doing their work, the movie was extremely engaging. They captured the failures and successes of these children, which painted them as real people that the average audience member could relate to. This is a great aspect of the film, especially for any children watching from home. To be able to see that these kids -- who are extremely smart -- don't get it right on the first try is great for them. It makes the goal of getting into STEM fields more realistic and attainable.

 

In general, the editing was very nice as well; it was smooth, consistent, and linear.

 

Negative Aspects of the Mars Generation

 

I did not think that the film showed enough of the kids.  The Mars Generation program itself is about sending the next generation off into space to discover the red planet. There was far too much emphasis, in my opinion, on people like Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse Tyson.

 

The film never made the movie about the older and more experienced scientists, but their commentary gave the film a bit of a lull after a while. I wasn't watching the documentary to hear from them -- I was watching to see the kids, and to watch what they went through in order to make steps to getting to Mars.  I will say that I think the edition of experienced scientists was needed, but I thought that the balance wasn't there.  For me, this was a huge disappointment in the film.

 

And while I understand it makes for good publicity to have celebrities on your documentary, I can go ahead and watch Bill Nye's new show any time. Or listen to Tyson's podcast. Or watch Michio Kaku on the Science Channel whenever.  It might have been better to have interviewed or heard from people who worked with the kids, or who were astronauts themselves.  And we did hear from them, but not nearly as much as we heard from the celebrity scientists.

 

Overall, however, the movie was good and worth a watch.

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

Historical Accuracies: Dorothy Vaughan's Actual Timeline At NASA

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Hidden Figures was a movie that took the world by storm, telling the stories of three women who worked at NASA.  Unfortunately, the movie is not something you can take literally.  It has a few inaccuracies to the story, including parts of the story of Dorothy Vaughan, who was played by Octavia Spencer.

 

Dorothy Vaughan was born in 1910, and was hired into NACA approximately twenty years before the movie Hidden Figures takes place.  When Vaughan was hired in during the forties (December of 1943) it was still NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics).  NACA wouldn't become NASA until 1958.  Vaughan retired from NASA in 1971, and passed in 2008.

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Before she worked for NACA, Dorothy Vaughan was a high school math teacher at Robert Russa Moton High.  She left, believing her job at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory would only be temporary during WWII.

 

In 1941, two years before Vaughan moved to the Laboratory, Executive Order 8802 was signed into law.  This order prohibited employment discrimination (as far as race, religion, and ethnicity) in the US, and as a result, Vaughan was one of the first African-American's to be hired as mathematicians and scientists.

 

Vaughan really was the head of the segregated West Area Computers like the movie portrays her.  Mostly, it's the timeline that's off as far as the movie's accuracy goes.

 

She was the head of this group from 1949 to 1958.  This group was dismantled three years prior to the movie's timeline.  When NACA became NASA in 1958, this group and other segregated parts of the facility were abolished.  Most of the women who worked in the WAC were transferred at that time, including Vaughan.  They were transferred to the ACD (Analysis and Computation Division), which was a racially and gender-integrated group that turned to working on electronic computing.

 

This makes another inaccuracy in the movie's timeline.  Since the WAC was abolished in 1958 and Vaughan moved on to electronic computing then, the IBM conflict in the story isn't quite accurate.  In fact, the electronic computer FORTRAN, was purchased and developed prior to the sixties.

 

Not only that, but the movie portrays Dorothy Vaughan as figuring out how the FORTRAN worked while the men were not looking.  In all actuality, programming like that was considered 'women's work' at the time.

 

The timeline inaccuracies were obviously meant to keep the movie more condensed.  Dorothy Vaughan really did work with Katherine Johnson (who liked the movie quite a bit) and Mary Jackson during that time, but many of the events that took place during the movie happened before the sixties.

 

There are other inaccuracies, such as Johnson's trips to the bathroom were actually Jackson's problem, and Glenn was never meant to orbit seven times around the Earth, as well as others.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.