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Cast member of Hidden Figures visits Dayton to promote STEM in young students

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FAIRBORN, Ohio (WRGT) -- It's a film that tells the incredible story of the African-American women who helped launch John Glenn into orbit. One of those women has ties to the Miami Valley, and an actress from that film is inspiring a new generation of engineers.

Karan Kendrick plays Joylette Coleman in the hit movie Hidden Figures. The acclaimed film includes the true story of Dorothy Vaughan; a Wilberforce University graduate who is part of a group of all-black female mathematicians who make their mark on NASA. Now, Kendrick is joining forces with the National Society of Black Engineers and Boeing to promote engineering in young African-American students.

"I think it's incredible for young girls to have this information at 8, 9, 10-years-old and it just makes me wonder how much farther they are going to go," Kendrick said.

They are part of a movement “Black STEM Like Me,” and they hope to produce 10,000 African-American engineers in the next 10 years.

"Certainly we need to do that at scale, so that young people can set part of their possible future to be an engineer," said Karl Reid with the National Society of Black Engineers.

Locally, Wilberforce students met the daughter of Vaughan on Monday. She was on campus inspiring students,

"Everyone's different and everyone's good at something," Jasmine Moss said.

"It inspires me to continue that in all of my classes and even outside of her classroom," Michael Sikora said.”

"The story of her life has opened up for many young women, in particular women of color,” Wilberforce Senior Vice President for Student Engagement Tashia Bradley said, “One can be a magnificent influence."

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