'A treasured memory'
Author Nathalia Holt addressed a packed auditorium at Lake Oswego High School on Feb. 8, sharing in-sights from her book "Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars."
The Lake Oswego Reads selection for 2017 explores the little-known history of the female "computers" at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California. From the podium, Holt shared insights from her interviews and research on the space race, women's rights in the workplace and the modern push to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for girls.
Holt said a web search several years ago sparked her interest in the book's subject. As she pondered baby names for her first daughter, she Googled the name "Eleanor Frances" and stumbled upon Eleanor Francis Helin, an astronomer at JPL from the 1970s to the early 2000s.
"I hope that my daughter will one day find inspiration in her story, as I have," she said.
Holt, a science writer with a doctorate who also wrote "Cured: The People who Defeated HIV," said she was struck by the "experience, enthusiasm and wit" of the Lake Oswego community.
"I have never met with a more vibrant group of readers than those of Lake Oswego," she said in an email to program coordinator Cyndie Glazer after her visit. "I was incredibly moved by the many passionate individuals I met, the beautiful artwork I viewed and the vitality of the events I participated in. The experiences of the last few days will stay with me a long time — a treasured memory."