Black American Icons: Mae Jemison

Dr. Mae Carol Jemison has always reached for the stars.  She is the first African American woman astronaut. Born in Decatur, Alabama and raised in Chicago, Mae was introduced to science from a very young age.  Inspired by African American actress Nichelle Nichols as Lieutenant Uhura in the television show, Star Trek, she was determined to one day travel into space. She received a degree in chemical engineering and African American studies from Stanford University and a medical degree from Cornell Medical School.  After serving overseas in the Peace Corp, she applied to the space program at NASA, where she joined the STS-47 crew as a Science Mission Specialist.  After the mission, she resigned from NASA and started her own company, wrote a series of books, and became a professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College.  An Avid Star Trek fan, she appeared on a episode of Star Trek:  The Next Generation, where she appeared as a real-life astronaut.  Her extraordinary career has earned her inductions into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the International Space Hall of Fame.  She continues to inspire younger generations to follow her lead and pursue a career in science.  “We look at science as something very elite, which only a few people can learn,” said Mae. “That is not true.  You just have to start early and give kids a foundation.  Kids live up, or down, to expectations.”