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‘Hidden Figures’ author Margot Lee Shetterly speaks at Guilford Technical Community College

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JAMESTOWN, N.C. – “Hidden Figures” author Margot Lee Shetterly was in Guilford County Tuesday speaking to students and people from the Piedmont about her best-selling book.

The book is the inspiration for the Oscar-nominated film.

Shetterly ‘s visit included speaking at Koury Auditorium at GTCC in the afternoon and Dana Auditorium at Guilford College during the evening.

Both visits are in conjunction with the City of Greensboro’s One City, One Book community reading initiative.

During a sit-down interview with FOX8, Shetterly explained that the overwhelmingly positive response has been a surreal experience.

“For any author, getting published is a really big deal, especially a first-time author. This is my first book. To have that book made into a movie and be embraced with this kind of enthusiasm is so far beyond anything I could have imagined.”

Shetterly grew up in Hampton, Virginia. Her father is a retired scientist who worked at NASA’s Langley Research Center. He knew the women featured in the book.

“It was a really wonderful thing because I got to grow up in this neighborhood and have those people be both wonderful role models, but also totally normal, she said.

Even though so much has changed since then, Shetterly realizes even today, her childhood is not everybody’s reality.

“I'll often hear from women in technology in particular who feel isolated, who feel like they're the only woman on their team, or in their group that they're always fighting for respect and for credit.”

She says that’s one reason why the message in Hidden Figures remains relevant, hopefully changing ideas of what a scientist looks like.

“Maybe when you meet someone, there's something about them that you don't know or that you don't see immediately that is hidden from the view, but is really wonderful,” she said.