March 25, 2012
SOURCE: Scientific American
If you happened to read my Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day post from October 7, 2011, then you may have gleaned that I have this awesome fangirl obsession with THE Dr. Mae Jemison. As a young girl, I remember her being a member of the Space Shuttle Team, Endeavor, which launched in 1992. She was the very first African-American woman to travel in space; and she was an inspiration to young people everywhere…especially this girl.
Seeing a role model that resembled me, meant a lot to me. I think it means a lot to most young people. I especially love how, this physician-turned-astronaut was rocking a super chick natural in her official NASA photos. Fierce!
I had a rare chance to hear her speak (and later meet her) in person. It was a most spectacular day for me.
On Wednesday, September 8, 2010, THE Dr. Mae Jemison spoke a room of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators and advocates at the state of Missouri STEM Summit presented by the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.
As I listened to her keynote talk: “Diversity in STEM: The New American Imperative”, I fought hard, very hard, to control myself. I was not only super excited about seeing her in person, but was so moved by her words. She discussed shy science literacy matters for everyone, EVERYONE, and why bringing more women and under-represented minorities into STEM career tracks is critical to our nation’s success. As she put it, training ALL of our students in STEM prepares them to take jobs in innovation; or alternatively for those that do not wish to become scientists or engineers, we want them to be ready to understand and use new technologies and make decisions about science and tech policy or personal matters is important.