Katherine Johnson

Ordinary & Extraordinary

The world knows Katherine Johnson as a Hidden Figure research mathematician at NASA whose work helped send the first astronauts to the moon.

But what was she really like and how did she help make such advances in aeronautics?

Read more about Katherine Johnson’s upbringing, family, education, and life outside the spotlight.

Katherine Loved To Count...

Her mastery of analytic geometry helped put astronauts in space

Katherine Johnson’s skills with numbers were apparent as a child. She loved to count everything around her and excelled in school, graduating college at just 18 years old with a dream of becoming a research mathematician. She made her dream a reality and while working for NASA, Katherine calculated the paths for the spacecrafts that put the first U.S. astronauts into space and the first men on the moon.

“To us, she’s Mom.”

Growing up, our mom shared with us the basic tenants of her life – no one is better than you, education is paramount, and asking questions can break barriers. She always wanted people to do their best and work hard to live up to their potential. Most of all, she was humble. In fact, some people who have known her for years, including friends and family, were just as shocked to find out the extent of her career because of how little she bragged about herself.

Katherine Johnson was more than a character in a movie. She was also a teacher, a sorority sister, a mentor, a devoted daughter, a loving wife, a sister, a cousin, an aunt, a friend. To us, she’s Mom. We carry on her legacy as a family and continue to share her inspirational story with people all over the world.

 – Joylette Hylick & Katherine Moore

Katherine Johnson with her girls in 1949. From left to
right: Constance (Connie), Katherine (Kathy), and
Joylette. This image is used by the KCGJ Foundation with permission by its copyright owner, the KCJ Estate.

Read More About
Katherine Johnson’s Life
in Her Own Words

Read More About
Katherine Johnson’s Life
in Her Own Words

My Remarkable Journey: A Memoir

Being handpicked to be one of three black students to integrate West Virginia’s graduate school is something that many people would consider one of their life’s most notable moments, but it’s just one of several breakthroughs that have marked Katherine Johnson’s long and remarkable life. In this memoir, Katherine shares her personal journey from curious child to pioneering NASA research mathematician.

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KCGJ Foundation is synonymous with education and the joy of learning for young people.  Our mission is to encourage, inspire and empower youth to pursue careers in STEM—especially math and science.

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