Black History Snippet--Col. Mae Jemison

Black History Profile:

Col. Mae Jemison (1956- present)

--the first black American woman in space, having launched on Sept. 12, 1992, aboard the space shuttle Endeavor

--born in AL, her parents moved to Chicago for better educational opportunities

--she loved watching Star Trek and credits Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) with her wanting to be a scientist and travel to space

--often dissuaded from being a scientist by her teachers, for a time she decided to become a dancer, excelling in all forms

--even as a student at Stanford, she endured racism-- even from her professors, which drove her to regularly sloganize that "I'm going to do this and I don't give a damn."

--as a senior in college, when deciding to pursue arts or science, it was her mother told her "you can always dance if you're a doctor, but you can't doctor if you're a dancer"; she chose the latter

--she graduated college at 20 with 2 degrees: receiving a B.S. in chemical engineering and fulfilling the requirements for a B.A. in African and Afro-American Studies

--while working on her Doctorate of Medicine at Cornell, she traveled to several other countries, giving medical care--all while still studying and learning modern dance

--after medical school, she was a general practitioner for a while, but decided to join the Peace Corps where she regularly broke rules concerning patient cost--claiming she was there to save lives, not dollars

-- witnessing Sally Ride venture to space, along with the Challenger tragedy, she decided to apply to the NASA program, receiving the opportunity in 1987

--in 1992, she lifted off from Kennedy Space Center with a poster of Bessie Coleman firmly in her grasp

--she retired from NASA in 1993, choosing to focus more on sciences and advocate strongly in favor of science education and getting minority students interested in science

--also in 1993 Jemison founded her own company, the Jemison Group that researches, markets, and develops science and technology for daily life

--founded the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence; an international science camp where students, ages 12 to 16, work to solve current global problems

--Jemison founded BioSentient Corp and has been working to develop a portable device that allows mobile monitoring of the involuntary nervous system

--being a lover of the sciences and arts, she currently holds nine  doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and humanities

--"Science provides a personal understanding of universal experience. Arts provide a universal understanding of a personal experience."

--Col. Mae Jemison

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