Updated: June 20, 2017
Engineer, Physician and NASA Astronaut
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Dr. Mae C Jemison is an American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut who became the first woman of color in the world to go into space when she flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. Serving six years as a NASA astronaut, Dr. Jemison is an icon of both the women's rights and civil rights movement, inducted into both the National Women's Hall of Fame (1993) and the International Space Hall of Fame (2004).
A strong, committed global voice for science literacy, in 1994 Jemison founded the international science camp The Earth We Share™ (TEWS) for students 12-16 years old from around the world. In 2011, Jemison also launched the TEWS-Space Race, with the goal of improving science achievement for underserved Los Angeles-area students who are underrepresented in the sciences. Dr. Jemison continues to be a vocal advocate for improving education access and advocating for greater inclusion of girls in STEM programs. Jemison's book, Find Where the Wind Goes, is geared for teenagers and explores her experiences growing up on the South Side of Chicago, cultivating her aspirations to be a scientist, and her history-making journey into space.
Following her time in NASA, Dr. Jemison founded both The Jemison Group and BioSentient Corporation. A technology consulting firm, The Jemison Group explores and develops stand-alone science and technology programs, integrating the critical impact of socio-cultural issues with revolutionary technologies. Among The Jemison Group's groundbreaking work is a project to use satellite technology for health care delivery in West Africa and another to use solar dish Stirling engines for electricity generation in developing countries.
Currently, Dr. Jemison leads The 100 Year Starship (100YSS), a revolutionary initiative to assure the capability for human interstellar space travel to another star within the next century.
Involved in a wide range of programs and causes, Dr. Jemison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine and is on the Board of Directors of: Kimberly-Clark Corp., Scholastic, Inc., Texas Medical Center, and Valspar Corp. She's also a Trustee of Morehouse College and served as the Chair of the Texas State Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board and the Greater Houston Partnership Disaster Planning and Recovery Task Force. Among many honors, awards and honorary degrees she has received the National Organization for Women’s Intrepid Award and the Kilby Science Award. Jemison appeared on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, hosted the Discovery Channel series World of Wonder, and was chosen by People magazine as one of the “World’s 50 Most Beautiful People.”
In addition to all her work, Dr. Jemison is a highly sought after speaker on issues of health care, social responsibility, technology and motivation. Sh has appeared on BBC, The McNeil Lehrer Report, ABC Nightline, NPR and CNN.
Prior to NASA, Jemison was a Peace Corps Medical Officer in Sierra Leone and Liberia for two and a half years, overseeing the healthcare system. Jemison earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering and her M.D. from Cornell University.