On Saturday, February 4, 2017, the Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant kicked off Black History Month 2017 with a free screening of the movie “Hidden Figures” for more than 200 girls in the Greater Jackson area. The event was in partnership with the Central Mississippi Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi.

The film screening was followed by a panel discussion about careers in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) including representatives from the Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant, Nucor Steel and Jackson State University.

The 2016 film “Hidden Figures,” which is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture this year, tells the story of female African-American mathematicians working at NASA in the 1960s. It highlights their seldom-mentioned contributions to the American space program in general and the successful launch of astronaut John Glenn, who was the first American to orbit the Earth, in particular.

“The amazing accomplishments of women scientists still go unnoticed far too often. We couldn’t think of a better way to kick off Black History Month than to inspire young ladies in our community to pursue STEAM careers,” said Katrina B. Myricks, president, National Coalition of 100 Black Women of Central MS.

“We’re excited to offer these girls not just a chance to see an inspiring film, but also an opportunity to learn more about interesting careers from female leaders working in STEAM fields,” said LaShaunda René, development director for the Girl Scouts of Greater MS. “We would like to thank the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and Nissan for helping us encourage and inspire future female leaders.”

“STEAM fields offer stable, high-paying and intellectually stimulating jobs, and we need to encourage more girls of color to pursue careers in related industries,” said Pam Confer, the director of community and public relations for the Nissan Canton Vehicle Assembly Plant. “Nissan is grateful for the opportunity to share the powerful story of ‘Hidden Figures’ with young girls from our community.”

Since the plant opened in 2003, Nissan and its employees have awarded more than $13 million in grants, scholarships and in-kind gifts to charitable organizations across Mississippi, with an emphasis on education. Nissan employees also give their time, volunteering in classrooms and with nonprofits focused on youth development and education.