BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The world of science is mourning the loss of pioneering black mathematician Katherine Johnson. She was 101 years old. She worked on NASA's early space missions and was portrayed in the film "Hidden Figures".
"She paved the way for women to come into STEM fields and to excel. She's just a hero to anybody," said Serena Tabor, Computer Programming teacher at Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School.
Johnson is a West Virginia native, but her contributions inspired young minds right here in WNY.
"All I want to say is that she was genius. Really genius," said Alifa Hussain, a sophomore at the school.
"Thank you for doing what you did. Fighting and not giving up," said Sumya Rinto, a junior.
These girls are on the school's robotics team called the "BuffSciBorgs". They design, build, program and compete robots.
"I kind of want to prove a point, you know? Because I'm also a girl of color, I wanted to prove that I could do it," said Rinti.
Johnson serves as a constant source of inspiration for these students. Just look at how they decorated the classroom door for Black History Month.
"She did it. She persevered, she didn't give up and that's what I tell my girls. You don't quit," said Tabor.
When they grow up, they all want to pursue careers in STEM.