On September 12, 1992, Dr. Mae C. Jemison blasted into orbit aboard the space shuttle STS-47 Endeavour making her the first woman of color to go into space. This was one of many great events in her life.
Her life story began in Decatur, Alabama where she was born October 17, 1956 to Charles and Dorothy Jemison. She was the youngest of three children.
She was raised in Chicago where she attended public school. When she was only 16, she graduated from high school and entered Stanford University in California on a scholarship. She graduated from Stanford University with two degrees! One was a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and the other was an Associate Bachelor degree in African and Afro-American studies.
She later went to Cornell University Medical College where she completed all the requirements to become a medical doctor.
From 1983-1985, she went to West Africa as a medical doctor and an engineer for the Peace Corps. She really enjoyed that experience.
When she came back to the United States, she became a doctor in Los Angeles. However, she wanted to fulfill a dream she’d had since she was in kindergarten. And that was to go into space. A lot of people said she couldn’t do it because she was a girl but she knew she could. So, she applied to become an astronaut and the National Aeronautics Space Agency (NASA) accepted her.
After training for five years, she went into space where she conducted experiments as the flight’s medical officer. It was a wonderful experience.
In 1993, she left NASA and started her own company called The Jemison Group Inc. The Jemison Group works on projects that deal with science and technology. As the Founder and President of BioSentient Corporation, Dr. Jemison works on important medical technology projects.
By starting The Earth We Share™, an international sciences camp for students aged 12-16 years old, she allows students from all over the world to work together on science projects that make you think! Dr. Jemison works with the Bayer Corporation on a program called Making Science Make Sense with students nationwide.
Dr. Jemison wrote a book called, Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life. In it, she remembers her childhood experiences. It’s now available in paperback.
Dr. Jemison has won many awards and has even appeared on television many times — including on Star Trek: The Next Generation and the Discovery Channel’s World of Wonder.
She travels all over the country speaking to adults and youngsters like you. Dr. Jemison works hard to make sure young people from all backgrounds know how much fun and how important understanding science and math can be. That’s because in the future our lives will depend on our knowledge and understanding of math and the sciences.
Today, Dr. Jemison lives in Houston. She loves dancing, playing cards and cats!