WoW Blog (Woman of the Week) Blog

WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

Each week this blog will feature a prominent woman who made significant contributions to engineering or science. If you have any women you'd like us to feature please let us know and we'll do our best to include them.

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Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

Posted February 06, 2008 6:00 AM by Sharkles

Dr. Mae Jemison is an American physician, chemist, teacher, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.

Dr. Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama on October 17th, 1956, the youngest of three children. At a young age, her family moved to Chicago where she would spend her childhood. She attended Chicago's Morgan Park High School and graduated in 1973. Dr. Jemison entered Stanford University at 16 and graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a A.B. in African and Afro-American Studies. While in college, Dr. Jamison experienced challenges due to her race and gender. She explains "Some professors would just pretend I wasn't there. I would ask a question and a professor would act as if it was just so dumb, the dumbest question he had ever heard. Then, when a white guy would ask the same question, the professor would say, "That's an astute observation."" She earned a Doctorate in Medicine in 1981 from Cornell Medical College. During medical school, Dr. Jemison traveled to Cuba, Kenya, and Thailand to provide primary medical care to people living there. In 1982, she completed her internship at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center.

Besides science, Dr. Jemison also has a keen interest in dance. She began dancing at age 9 and has learned many different styles including African dancing, ballet, jazz, modern, and Japanese dancing. During her senior year in college, when she was trying to decide whether to go to New York to medical school or become a professional dancer, her mother told her "You can always dance if you're a doctor, but you can't doctor if you're a dancer". While at medical school, she took dance lessons in modern dance at the Alvin Ailey School. Dr. Jemison has choreographed and produced several shows of modern jazz and African dance.

Dr. Jemison joined the Peace Corps and served as a Peace Corps Medical Officer from 1983 to 1985. Jemison's work included supervising the pharmacy, laboratory, and medical staff, as well as providing medical care, writing self-care manuals, and developing and implementing guidelines for health and safety issues.

In 1985, Dr. Jemison became a general practitioner with CIGNA Health Plans of California and began taking graduate engineering courses. Dr. Jemison applied to NASA and was turned down, but upon resubmission, she was accepted in 1987. In her own words, "I was in the first class of astronauts selected after the Challenger accident back in 1986, and the very first assignment I had was working at Kennedy Space Center. I saw the launch and in fact actually worked the launch of the first flight after the Challenger accident. I worked at shuttle avionics integration laboratory, which is where all the software that flies the space shuttle is tested".

Dr. Jemison became the first woman of color in space when she blasted into orbit on the space shuttle Endeavor, September 12, 1992. She was a Science Mission Specialist on the STS-47 Space lab J flight, a US/Japan joint mission. She conducted experiments in life sciences, material sciences, and was co-investigator in the Bone Cell Research experiment. Dr. Jemison resigned from NASA in March 1993 to pursue other interests.

After flying in space, Dr. Jemison taught at Dartmouth College on the topics of developing countries and advanced technology. She created the Jemison Group, which works to bring advanced technology to people worldwide and foster a love of science in students. In another project, The Earth We Share (TEWS), Dr. Jemison enjoys working with children to encourage learning in science and global issues. The students work on solving global dilemmas.

In 2004, Dr. Jemison was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame. She lists her father and mother as her heroes, along with Linus Pauling, who she says "helped me know the importance of exploration and discovery, and also social responsibility".

Awards and Honors (Source: NASA)
Awards and honors she has received include:

Essence Award (1988);
Gamma Sigma Gamma Women of the Year (1989);
Honorary Doctorate of Science, Lincoln College, PA (1991);
Honorary Doctor of Letters, Winston-Salem, NC (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 (1991);
Johnson Publications Black Achievement Trailblazers Award (1992);
Mae C. Jemison Science and Space Museum, Wright Jr. College, Chicago, (dedicated 1992);
Ebony's 50 Most Influential women (1993);
Turner Trumpet Award (1993); and Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth (1993);
Kilby Science Award (1993);
Induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame (1993);
People magazine's 1993 "50 Most Beautiful People in the World";
CORE Outstanding Achievement Award;
National Medical Association Hall of Fame.

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Jemison
http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/whos_who_level2/jemison.html
http://quest.nasa.gov/women/TODTWD/jemison.bio.html

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

02/17/2008 12:12 PM

YOU ARE SO COOL I WISH I WAS YOU ! YOU ARE ACTUALLY MY ROLEMODEL!

LOVE YOU YOUR ROLEMODEL MURRY LEE GRANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Anonymous Poster
#2

Re: Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

02/17/2008 12:36 PM

I'M MURRY GRANT FROM WETUMPKA ALABAMA.I'M DOING MY SCIENCE RESEARCH PAPER ON YOU AND I'M EXCITED THAT YOU ARE FROM ALSO FROM ALABAMA. DO YOU HAVE ANY EXTRA INFO ON YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE NASA PROGRAM THAT YOU CAN EMAIL TO ME TO ADD TO MY PAPER. PLEASE IF YOU HAVE ANY EXTRA INFO PLEASE EMAIL ITS FOR HALF OF MY GRADE. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

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Anonymous Poster
#6
In reply to #2

Re: Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

12/01/2008 8:30 PM

sure ok

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Anonymous Poster
#9
In reply to #2

Re: Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

03/03/2009 9:06 AM

Unfortunatelly i am so old that i cannot remember anything so you'll have to do it on your own!

Sorry!

Mae Carol Jemison

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Anonymous Poster
#10
In reply to #2

Re: Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

03/03/2009 9:09 AM

I got lots of badges that's all that I remember!

Thanks

Mae Carol Jemison

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Anonymous Poster
#11
In reply to #10

Re: Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

03/03/2009 9:12 AM

Sorry I tried and tried but i cannot remember!

Mae Carol Jemison

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Anonymous Poster
#3

Re: Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

03/26/2008 10:00 AM

o she is the best black women that did her thing

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Anonymous Poster
#5
In reply to #3

Re: Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

12/01/2008 8:29 PM

thank you

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Anonymous Poster
#4

Re: Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

04/04/2008 11:45 AM

wow

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Anonymous Poster
#7

Re: Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

02/14/2009 2:07 PM

Mae C. Jemison is a g role model and i suggest that black young women should do wat she did and try to set an example.

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Anonymous Poster
#8

Re: Woman of the Week – Mae Jemison (October 17, 1956 to Present)

02/16/2009 7:21 PM

Mae Jeminson inspires me one day to go into space read her blog about how Martin Luther King inspired her that touched me how did get into space was you neverous

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