Biography of Dr Mae C Jemison

By Radiyah Shakur

Mae JemisonI 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

Dr. Mae C. Jemison has been dubbed as a 21st-Century Renaissance woman. Chemical engineer, scientist, physician, teacher and astronaut, Jemison has a wide range of experience in technology, engineering, and medical research. In addition to her extensive background in science, 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.

Mae Jemison orbited on the shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992 as the first woman of colour to go into space. Born in Decatur, Alabama and raised in Chicago, she entered Stanford University in California at the age of sixteen on a scholarship, graduating with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. She earned her doctorate in medicine at Cornell University Medical College in New York.

Prior to joining the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Dr. Jemison worked in both engineering and medicine. She volunteered in a Cambodian refugee camp and as a medical officer with the Peace Corps in West Africa from 1983-1985. Jemison then returned to Los Angeles and worked as a General Practitioner with CIGNA Health Plans of California, when NASA selected her and 14 others for astronaut training. She joined NASA in 1987, and completed her training as a mission specialist in 1988. In September of 1992, as a mission specialist aboard the Shuttle Endeavour, Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman to enter space, logging 190 hours.

After leaving NASA in 1993, Jemison joined Dartmouth College (an Ivy League University in USA) as a professor of environmental studies. That same year she also founded The Jemison Group, Inc. to research, develop and implement advanced technologies for developing countries. Additionally, Mae served as a consultant to the Discovery Channel's "World of Wonders" program and appeared in an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Dr. Jemison regularly speaks at various events, and has been the recipient of numerous awards honours.

She currently resides in Houston with her cats Sneeze and Little Mama.


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