Mae C. Jemison
Physician, Astronaut, Chemical Engineer
On September 12, 1992, Dr. Mae C. Jemison became the first female African-American astronaut to blast off into space. As a crewmember aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, she was the mission's acting science specialist. Throughout her life, she has worked to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in science. Jemison also is a chemical engineer, physician, and a teacher. Jemison had dreamed of becoming an astronaut ever since she was a child living in Chicago. She was born in 1956 in Decatur, Alabama and raised in Chicago where an uncle sparked a girlhood interest in extinct animals and astronomy.
Dr. Jemison’s education includes being an honor roll student in high school. She then earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in chemical engineering and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in African-American studies from Stanford University in 1977. She was awarded her Doctorate of Medicine (M.D.) from Cornell University in 1981. Dr. Jamison worked in Cuba, Kenya, and Thailand while in medical school.
In 1983, she joined the Peace Corps and worked in western Africa. She then became a general practitioner in Los Angeles from 1985 to 1987. Mae Jemison was accepted as a NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration) astronaut and became the science mission specialist on the first U.S.-Japanese cooperative shuttle launch in 1992.
The current projects she is working on include developing satellite communications system to provide health care in Africa, an international science camp for teens, the Jemison Institute for Advancing Technology in Developing Countries at Dartmouth College, and host of World of Wonder" series on Discovery Channel. Dr. Jemison is a true modern hero working to improve the world through science / engineering and social programs. All of us should aspire to contribute as much as she has.