Hidden colors heroine honored in bronze

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INSTITUTE, W.Va. (AP) — Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician whose calculations helped astronauts return to Earth, is being honored at her alma mater with a bronze statue and a scholarship in her name.

West Virginia State University says a dedication ceremony is planned for Aug. 25, the day before Johnson’s 100th birthday.

Long before the digital era, Johnson worked as a human “computer” at the agency that became NASA, working in relative obscurity as an African-American woman. Her contributions were later recognized in the “Hidden Figures” movie, with actress Taraji P. Henson playing her role.

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West Virginia State hopes to endow the scholarship at $100,000, awarding money to students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math, targeting people who are underrepresented in those fields.

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