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The movie 'Hidden Figures' impacts young girls in Elkhart

The movie "Hidden Figures" is about three black mathematicians, and it has been the #1 movie at the box office for two weeks in a row and is getting major Oscar buzz. It also has an impact locally.

The movie, which is based on a true story about the women who played a key role at NASA during the height of the space race, is inspiring more young girls to learn and get involved in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Hidden Figures tells the little-known story of the African American women who made space flight possible. These brilliant women had to overcome racial and gender prejudice, and in doing so they made history.

That's inspiring to girls like Ashley Dixon, a fifth-grader at Elkhart's Beardsley Elementary.

"It's mostly about women empowerment and I'm all for that," said Ashley.

Beardsley recently started competing in the First Robotics Lego Competition and they won a prize this past fall. Ashley is the only girl on the team. She says even though it's hard sometimes, in the end it's worth it.

"Sometimes it will be a challenge and I will fail at some things, but in the end I like it, because I like to give myself a challenge,"said Ashley.

Hidden Figures proves that STEM Fields are for everyone. Just ask Notre Dame graduate student Sabrina Strauss, she really wants to see a surge of young women interested in science.

"We go to the elementary schools and we show them, hey look there are women in science, this is something you can be when you grow up," said Strauss.

Teachers at Beardsley are trying to show them that. Victoria, Ana, and Justice are just three of the girls who were touched by the film.

"I like math -- it can teach you things you need to know for life," said Ana Salazar, who wants to be a doctor someday.

Justice Thompson wants to use her love of math to teach.

"I liked it because it shows that ladies are really powerful," said Justice.

Victoria Reyes Gonzalez loves children and wants to be a pediatrician.

"Women can do all the things boys can do and you can be whatever you want -- you just have to work at it," said Victoria.

For Ashley Dixon, Hidden Figures is proof that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

"It made me feel good and made me have a lot of hope that maybe I could do what they did one day," said Ashley.

The robotics coach at Beardsley is hopeful that more girls will join the team.

Teachers say the movie is important, and now that we're acknowledging the women who played a role in the success of that mission, it's something everyone should see.


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