On October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama, Charlie and Dorothy Jemison welcomed their third
child Mae Jemison who would change the world. When Mae was three years old her family moved to Chicago to find better educational opportunities for their children. Early in her school years, Mae was known to spend an enormous amount of time in the school library reading about science, specifically Astronomy.
While attending Morgan Park High School, Mae found her passion. She began pursuing a career in biomedical engineering. Upon graduating from high school in 1973 with consistent honors, she became a student at Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship.
Jemison double majored at Stanford receiving bachelor's degrees in Chemical Engineering and
African American studies in 1977. After graduation, she entered Cornell University pursuing a medical degree. Mae Jemison traveled extensively while at Cornell.
She visited Cuba, Kenya, and Thailand, where she worked at a Cambodian refugee camp. She
graduated from Cornell in 1981 before attending Los Angeles County/University of Southern
California Medical Center where she received hands-on training to become a doctor. Using all of
her talents and education, Mae Jemison established a general practice.
She later worked as a Peace Corps Officer in Sierra Leone. She used her time there to teach and conduct medical research. In 1985, Mae Jemison returned to the United States and applied for the NASA astronaut training program, but faced a roadblock when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986.
In 1987, she reapplied for the program and was one of fifteen chosen out of a field of two
thousand applicants. She was the first African American woman chosen to be a part of the
training program. Mae spent more than a year in the training program and became an astronaut,
which was accompanied by the title of science mission specialist.
This title garnered the responsibility of conducting crew-related scientific experiments on the space shuttle. In 1992, Mae Jemison flew into space aboard the Endeavour on mission STS-47. She and her crew spent eight days in space conducting experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness. Mae used herself and the crew as guinea pigs for the experiments.
On September 20, 1992, they returned and Mae became very famous for her achievements as the first African American woman in space. Following her return from space Mae received a plethora of awards and recognitions. In 1998, she received the Essence Science and Technology Award.
In 1990, she was named the Gamma Sigma Gamma Woman of the Year. In 1992, she won
the Ebony Black Achievement Award and The Mae C. Jemison Academy was named after her.
Between the years 1990 and 1992, she became a member of the American Medical Association, the American Chemical Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
She served on the Board of Directors of the World Sickle Cell Foundation. She also became a
committee member of the American Express Geography Competition as well as a board
member of the center for the Prevention of Childhood Malnutrition. In 1993, she received a
Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College.
She also left the astronaut corps to establish the Jemison Group, a company that researches,
develops, and markets advanced technologies. Mae Jemison became a professor at Dartmouth College and started the Jemison Institute for Advancing Technology in Developing Countries. She later created The Earth We Share program, a science camp for girls ages twelve to sixteen, helping to improve problem-solving skills. Mae Jemison is a
trailblazer. She used her imagination to dream of a future that she later made a reality. By becoming the first African-American woman in space, Dr. Jemison opened doors for women of color at NASA forever. Dr. Mae C. Jemison, we stand on your shoulders.
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