In this week’s Wednesday Five: Becky Hammon is the first woman to lead an NBA team, author Toni Morrison on her childhood friend that served as the inspiration for her book, “The Bluest Eye,” poet Ladan Osman on the “good literary citizen,” Neil deGrasse Tyson on teaching our children enough  science, and a tribute to Margaret Hamilton whose software guided Apollo 11 to the moon.



Becky Hammon is First Woman to Lead an NBA Team

dm_141215_espnw_impact_25Women in sports are having an incredible month! Serena Williams won her sixth Wimbledon championship. The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team won its first World Cup title in 16 years. And now Becky Hammon, at 38 years old, has become the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs Las Vegas Summer League team, making her the first female coach to lead a NBA team. Click here to watch an interview Hammon did  last year with ESPN about being the first woman to coach in the NBA.



Toni Morrison on the Inspiration for ‘The Bluest Eye’

Speaking with the BBC’s The Arts Hour, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison shares the story of the real girl, her childhood friend, who prayed for blue eyes and became the inspiration for her book The Bluest Eye.





Poet Ladan Osman on the ‘Good Literary Citizen’


Poet Ladan Osman was born in Somalia and now lives in Chicago. Her chapbook, Ordinary Heaven, appeared in Seven New Generation African Poets. Her full-length collection, The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony, won the Sillerman First Book Prize. In an interview with The Paris Review she talks about her art, language, and what it means to be a good literary citizen. Here’s an excerpt:

Some of the poems in Kitchen-Dweller function like prayers, and it sounds as though these poems have helped to introduce you to a community, which is something that religion offers.

Community and guidance. It’s one thing to be taken care of professionally and to be supported creatively, but I’m also around people—Kwame Dawes and Matthew Shenoda, specifically—who are a model for living. They’re very serious people and they’re sure-footed, but I don’t get a sense that they’re attached to worldly things. Witnessing the choices they’ve made as writers, as teachers, as good literary citizens, and also in their partnerships and who they are as fathers is a kind of total support that I would not have known to ask for. I fully acknowledge there are people who have been working hard for a long time and don’t have this configuration available to them. It means I have to show up and take it seriously.

Read the full interview at The Paris Review.



Are We Teaching Our Children Enough Science? How About Adults?

“Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey” host Neil deGrasse Tyson, always provocative, sat with National Geographic News to talk candidly on the role of scientists and the debate about teaching our children enough science.



Remembering Engineer Margaret Hamilton, Whose Software Got Us to the Moon

1-7uh_tulkBNF5gBIAXeffmgMargaret Hamilton working on the Apollo project/NASA

When Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969 it did so with an on-board flight software created by a MIT team of engineers led by Margaret Hamilton. In a lovely tribute to Hamilton, TIME magazine’s Lily Rothman wrote:

Hamilton was later given NASA’s Exceptional Space Act Award for her work on those Apollo systems. (She’s also credited with coining the term “software engineering.”) That she was successful in the pre-women’s lib era in a field that remains tough for women to crack has helped revive interest in her career.

Read more about the pioneering engineer at TIME.

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