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Dr. Mae Carol Jemison

First African American Female Astronaut

She became the Fifth African American Astronut and The First African American woman in space in 1992. In the year 2012 at the age of 55 she was chosen to skipper the ‘100 Year Starship’ project, which is a multigenerational mission beyond the solar system that we know. The program is organized by NASA and the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Florida. She is well renowned Chemical engineer, scientist, physician, teacher and astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison has a wide range of experience in technology, engineering, and medical research. She is well-versed in African and African-American Studies, speaks fluent Russian, Japanese, and Swahili, as well as English and is trained in dance and choreography She is a multi award winner and honoree.



Dr. Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama, on Oct. 17, 1956, Mae Carol Jemison moved to Chicago Illinois., at the age of 3 and considers the city her hometown. The youngest of three children born to a maintenance worker and an elementary school teacher, she had a fascination with all things science from an early age. Once, after receiving an infection, she performed an extended experiment on pus excretion from her wound. Her parents supported her passion and vision to be a scientist. After graduating from Morgan Park High School in 1973 at the age of 16. She later entered Stanford University and earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University, while also fulfilling the requirements for a BA in African-American Studies. After earning these degrees in 1977, she attended Cornell University and received a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1981. During medical school she traveled to Cuba, Kenya and Thailand, providing primary medical care to people living there.

Demonstrating her compassion as a humanitarian, Dr. Mae Jemison served in the Peace Corps, from January 1983 to June 1985. She shared her abilities in Sierra Leone and Liberia, West Africa as the area Peace Corps medical officer. Among her duties, she supervised the pharmacy, laboratory, and medical staff as well as provided medical care, wrote self-care manuals, developed and implemented guidelines for health and safety issues. Also working in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) she helped with research for various vaccines.

Upon completion of her Peace Corps duties, Dr. Mae Jemison returned to the US, accepting a position with the CIGNA Health Plans of California as a general practitioner in Los Angeles, California. Having a desire to do more with her life, she enrolled in graduate classes in engineering and applied to NASA for admission to the astronaut program. She was turned down on her first application, she was resilient and pursued her passion and vision in 1987 her second application was accepted. She became one of the fifteen candidates accepted from over 2,000 applicants.



When Dr. Mae Jemison successfully completed her astronaut training program in August 1988, she became the fifth black astronaut and the first black female astronaut in NASA history. Her technical assignments included: launch support activities at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida; verification of Shuttle computer software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL), Science Support Group activities.

Dr. Mae Jemison was the science mission specialist on STS-47 Spacelab-J (September 12-20, 1992). STS-47 was a cooperative mission between the United States and Japan. The eight-day mission was accomplished in 127 orbits of the Earth, and included 44 Japanese and U.S. life science and materials processing experiments. Dr. Mae Jemison was a co-investigator on the bone cell research experiment flown on the mission. The Endeavour and her crew launched from and returned to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In completing her first space flight, Dr. Mae Jemison logged 190 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds in space, making her the first African-American woman in space. She says, “I had to learn very early not to limit myself due to others’ limited imaginations. I have learned these days never to limit anyone else due to my limited imagination.” Dr. Mae C Jemison Website

In 1993, Dr. Mae Jemison resigned from NASA and founded the Jemison Group, Inc. to research, develop and implement advanced technologies suited to the social, political, cultural and economic context of the individual, especially for the developing world. Current projects include: Alpha, (TM) a satellite based telecommunication system to improve health care in West Africa; and The Earth We Share, (TM) an international science camp for students ages 12 to 16 that utilizes an experiential curriculum. Among her current projects are several that focus on improving healthcare in Africa. She is also a professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College.

Dr. Mae Jemison is the host and a technical consultant to “World of Wonders” series produced by GRB Entertainment and seen weekly on the Discovery Channel. She feels much honored by the establishment (1992) of the MAE C. JEMISON ACADEMY, an alternative public school in Detroit.

Awards and honors

1988 Essence Award

1989 Gamma Sigma Gamma Women of the Year

1991 McCall’s 10 Outstanding Women for the 90’s

1991 Pumpkin Magazine’s (a Japanese Monthly) One of the Women for the Coming New Century

1992 Johnson Publications Black Achievement Trailblazers Award

Mae C. Jemison Science and Space Museum, Wright Jr. College, Chicago,

1993 Ebony’s 50 Most Influential women

1993 Turner Trumpet Award

Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth

Kilby Science Award

Induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame

CORE Outstanding Achievement Award; National Medical Association Hall of Fame·

1997 Chicagto History Museum “Making History Award” for Distinction in Science Medicine and Technology.

2002 listed among the 100 Greatest African Americans according to Molefi Kete Asante


2003 Intrepid Award by the National Organization For Girls


2004 International Space Hall Of Fame


2005 The National Audubon Society,



The Association for the Advancement of Science

The Association of Space Explorers

Honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Board of Directors of Scholastic, Inc.

Board of Directors of Houston’s UNICEF

Board of Trustees Spellman College

Board of Directors Aspen Institute

Board of Directors Keystone Center

Board of Directors for the National Research Council Space Station Review Committee.


Honorary Degrees

1991 Doctor of Letters, Winston-Salem College, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Honorary Doctorate of Science, Lincoln College

),          2000 Doctor of Humanities, Princeton University

2005 Doctor of Science,Wilson College

2006 Doctor of Science, Dartmouth College

2007 Doctor of Engineering,Harvey Mudd College

Doctor of Engineering, Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute

2008 Doctor of Humanities, DePaul University

2009 Doctor of Engineering, Polytechnic Institute NYU





Dr. Jemison a person that followed her dreams. She continues with all the full force as a role modle. As she states Martin Luther did not just say it He went and did and accomplished it. And so has the honorary Dr. Jemison.




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