Inspired by ‘Hidden Figures,’ UW engineer and astronaut honored for STEM contributions


Yvonne Cagle, Marleen Martinez Sundgaard

The 2016 movie “Hidden Figures” recounts the true story of a group of African American women mathematicians who provided the brainpower behind John Glenn’s 1962 mission into space when he became the first American to orbit the Earth.

After the movie’s release, the Obama White House created a special website honoring the many women of color who have contributed to NASA’s success. Not surprisingly, two UW alumnae are honored: Marleen Martinez Sundgaard, ’06, a systems engineer at the Jet Propulsion Lab from Eastern Washington; and Yvonne Cagle, ’85, an astronaut selected as reserved crew for the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation.