Dr. Linda Auker, a marine ecologist and assistant professor of biology at Misericordia University, summed up the film “Bombshell” perfectly by saying, “Hedy Lamarr was put in a box, a box that made her just a pretty face.”
We now know that she was a scientific genius, creating inventions, such as frequency hopping that have paved the way for so many of the technologies on our smart phones and other electronic devices that we all enjoy every day, such as Bluetooth. She was so much more than a beautiful Hollywood actress and never received recognition for it until late in life. Because she had only been recognized for her beauty, she felt she must retain that beauty by having multiple cosmetic surgeries that ended up disfiguring her.
In the panel discussion after the showing of “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story,” we heard that there are at least four ways that we can support our young women and girls of all backgrounds to fulfill their interests in STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Paula Eckert, P&G plant employee and labor relations leader, spoke of the fact that her husband “stayed home” to help raise their children so she could work in a STEM field. Dr. Heidi Manning, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Misericordia University, spoke of the support and encouragement she had from her father, support that was key to her pursuing her career in the field of physics.
All of the panel members stressed the importance of role models, that is, young girls must see other women who have achieved success in STEM fields. And, of course, the film “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” made clear that women must be valued for what they can achieve, not valued just for the way they look, their beauty.
Dr. Marnie Hiester-Idec, panel moderator and professor of psychology at Misericordia University, began the panel discussion by relating that today only 28% of the workforce in STEM fields is female. Because of the initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and their sponsorship of this Science on Screen movie event and panel discussion, we were able to shine a light on this issue and begin a discussion about ways to encourage women of all backgrounds to feel they belong in STEM fields.
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You still have time to take in some outstanding Mini Fest films. I know I will see as many as I can fit into my schedule.
Two that I have not written about yet are “The Donut King” and “Kajillionaire,” both guaranteed to bring you the escape we all need in these unprecedented times.
“The Donut King” is another story about fulfilling your dreams, the American dream. It tells how a Cambodian refugee, Ted Ngoy, builds a multi-million dollar business baking donuts, including the ups and downs in his business and personal life.
“Kajillionaire” is about con artists who spend 26 years training their daughter to swindle, scam and steal. It ultimately is about the deeply rooted bonds of family. Both films are refreshing glimpses of other worlds.
While all of these movies and programs are going on, Bob Lizza is finishing the second panel of the two murals featuring the Tunkhannock Viaduct or Nicholson Bridge, as it is most often called. You can see the murals from the by-pass or up close in the parking lot behind the Dietrich Theater.
What an accomplishment!
Thank you, Bob, for a dream come true, realized with funding from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region, DCNR, Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau and the Wyoming County Room Tax Fund. We are so proud.
And we are so proud that all of you are taking advantage of the fact that the Wyoming County Cultural Center at the Dietrich Theater is here for you to keep you entertained and keep you learning.