The 2016 film Hidden Figures shone a light on the brilliant, unsung heroes of the Space Race, three African-American women working at The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) whose expertise made it possible for astronaut John Glenn to launch into orbit. This previously untold story not only inspired viewers across the globe, it also sparked the creation of the U.S. State Department’s Hidden No More International Visitor Leadership Program, which highlights and advances the important achievements of women and girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Walt Disney Company has partnered with the U.S. State Department on the third-annual program, which launched in Washington D.C. and culminates on November 14 in Burbank, California, at The Walt Disney Studios lot.
Hidden No More brings to the United States 50 women from around the world who have excelled in STEM careers such as spacecraft engineering, data solutions and data privacy, and STEM-related education. Over the course of the three-week program, these women will meet with private and public sector organizations, including National Geographic, NASA, The Smithsonian Institute and The Geena Davis Institute. They also will split into groups and travel to Boston, Massachusetts; Charleston, South Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Greensboro, North Carolina; Huntsville, Alabama; Orlando, Florida; Pensacola, Florida; and St. Petersburg, Florida; where they will have opportunities to meet with professional counterparts and discuss strategies to advance the achievements of women in STEM.
The exclusive programming the women will experience through Hidden No More includes a visit to National Geographic headquarters for a day of executive presentations, networking opportunities and a visit to the National Geographic Museum’s newest exhibit, “Women: A Century of Change,” featuring more than 100 archival images of women from around the world. The participants will also get a behind-the-scenes look into the various ways storytelling, technology and innovation come together in Disney content created by employees and cast members at Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering and more, as part of a special capstone day at Disney’s Burbank Studio lot.
The participants also will have the opportunity to mentor members of the UN Foundation’s Girl Up initiative, which promotes adolescent girls’ leadership and empowerment. Local Girl Up members will spend time with the Hidden No More women and interview them about their career journeys and contributions to the international STEM community. These interviews and portions of the Hidden No More program will be featured in short-form videos to be created by the production company Summerjax as part of a new initiative this year, which the participants will be able to use to further leverage their stories after they return to their inspiring work at home.
“Disney is proud to partner with the U.S. State Department on this exceptional program that champions women in STEM and the indispensable contributions they’re making around the globe,” said Latondra Newton, senior vice president and chief diversity officer, The Walt Disney Company. “By raising awareness of the incredible talent that exists among these women and helping them amplify their powerful stories, we are helping to create a brighter future for them and for the next generation.”