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State Department creates STEM exchange program for women because of ‘Hidden Figures’

Hidden Figures not only got three Oscar nominations it also inspired the U.S. State Department to bring 50 women in science, technology, engineering, and math together.

Apparently, nearly 80 embassies requested screenings of the film, which is based on the true story of three African-American women working at NASA to send an astronaut into space.

After the State Department noticed how much interest the movie was generating, it started the #HiddenNoMore STEM exchange program, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It will be run through the department’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

Once in D.C., participants will watch the film and spend three weeks at organizations around the country to discuss and promote STEM careers and education for women. Back in LA, 20th Century Fox is hosting a two-day event for the group.

The movie-inspired program caught the attention of the cast. Taraji P. Henson, who co-starred with Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer, tweeted about exchange.

Despite all the excitement, the State Department is still slated for budget cuts. Also, in May, Donald Trump proposed eliminating NASA’s education program. All government science agency budgets have been slashed during the Trump administration.

It helps that Fox has donated about $400,000 to the program. But it’s still a public-private partnership, according to THR.

President Trump signed a law to encourage more women to join STEM fields earlier this year and authorized the National Science Foundation to recruit more women. (Women only make up about a quarter of computer and math jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

The new law, however, drew ire for its lack of funding. Trump wants these programs and initiatives, but doesn’t want to pay for them. Hopefully star power can help keep #HiddenNoMore funded.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/11/hidden-figures-state-department-women-stem/

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