Jaguars player encourages interest in STEM subjects, takes students to see 'Hidden Figures'

by: Erica Bennett, Action News Jax Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It’s a long-awaited film that's topping the box office. "Hidden Figures" tells the tale of three black women in the NASA program back in the 1960s. They were mathematicians and, in a lot of ways, the brains behind the Apollo 11 flight to the moon.

“Any woman can do anything they put their mind to,” student Johnathan Speed said.

Tuesday, students from KIPP Jacksonville and Ribault High School saw a screening of "Hidden Figures" and sat in on a panel discussion.

There were people there from Microsoft and the tech world in attendance, all there to answer questions.

Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum organized the event.

“To be able to show them on the screen. This could be you. You could be next. To be able to see a professional athlete. I love it. I don't have a STEM background, but this is something I feel passionate about,” he explained.

Beachum isn't alone. More and more people are pushing kids towards STEM subjects and careers.

“If we could just get young people to believe that STEM, math, science, engineering, technology, something that's obtainable. They don't have to be fearful of it. They can do it,” chemist Robin Watson said.

“For you to be brave and to have the courage to take that leap out to be first is very inspiring and very inspirational to me,” student John Douglas said.

Beachum will continue his STEM quest on Thursday. He'll be speaking to students at Northwestern Middle School about opportunities in those fields.