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Hidden Figures Screening Recap: We met a Real Life Computer

By February 11, 2017Business, Events, Featured

Event Recap by Alina Predescu

A few months ago, Katharina Schmidt and Alina Predescu brought an idea to the JHU Alumni office, “Let’s have a movie and discussion with a small group of people”. Well, last weekend on Jan 29th, nearly 300 JHU students, alumni and friends of JHU participated in the Hidden Figures movie and discussion. The power of collaboration! This was a collaborative event between the Hopkins Biotech Network, Carey Connect of Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and the JHU Alumni office: JHU Aerospace, JHU Women in Business Affinities.

Our event was a success, as chronicled by Carey here and in our February newsletter sent out by our editor, Emem Okoh. It was a great example of the unity of vision of the Johns Hopkins Institutions.

After the movie, panelists: Patricia Ordóñez, PhD, Lynn Johnson Langer PhD, MBA , Kenneth Sembach, PhD, Marguerite Hoyt, PhD, Camille Daniel and moderators Beverly Wendland and Ashley Llorens brought the conversation to the present relating it to the experiences facing women today. We were fortunate to have someone from the Hub present and summarize the panel discussions. Please see here.


From the Hopkins Biotech Network and the Carey Connect leadership, a great thank you to our panelists and collaborators for a wonderful event! Please find more information about our panelists and a continued discussion post movie here.

We also got details on Juanita Daniels, a real life computer at NASA and here’s how she relayed her story to Vicky Schneider of Alumni Relations:

My mother lost her mother at the age of 14 to colon cancer, so her older siblings often stepped in with parental roles as my grandfather bereaved and remarried looking for structure. She was second to the youngest of nine children. As she was graduating high school, an older sister and brother recommended that she study this new industry that was really burgeoning out and looked like a wave of the future – computer key punch, a very early form of programming. She did not have the money, so the two of them agreed to split the cost and if she succeeded in getting a job in the field after completion, she would pay them back. In 1960, a week before graduating from Business Machine School and gaining a certificate from IBM in key punch, she interviewed at the NSD – Naval Supply Depot, which was producing airplane parts and supplies for the Vietnam War which ultimately resulted in her landing a position as key punch operator.

Alina with Monique Castillo’s mom

Juanita Daniels IBM Certificates

She married in 1966 and transitioned over to the Naval Hospital.  She knew that adding an additional certification in Machine Operating/Wiring would allow advancement in the Naval grading system because the early computers were tabulation machines, and in order to change the programming to do different tabulation, knowledge of how to change the wiring in the machine was required. She noticed that a Naval Officer who was having an affair with a female colleague of hers had agreed to send that colleague to IBM’s Operating/Wiring course. It is a funny story how she leaned in on that opportunity and that Officer, not wanting to be exposed, sent her along as well for the course. That additional certificate from IBM Juanita Daniels IBM Certificates reflects her married name.

Thank you all for contributing to the success of our event.

All photos in this article are by Arthur Edge

Published by: Ememabasi Okoh
Editor-in-Chief, Hopkins Biotech Network

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