In honour of Black History Month we will be recognising notable contributions to the STEMs from people of African origin. On Day 23 we recognise Prof. Mae Jemison.
Born in 1956, Prof. Jemison is a Physician who became the first African American woman to travel to space. As a young child, she always wanted to be a scientist and fly to space, taking inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr to pursue a dream that was not an elusive fantasy. After completing High School education she entered Stanford University to study a BS in Chemical Engineering and a BA in African and Afro-American Studies after which she obtained a Medical degree from Cornell Medical College. Prof. Jemison would later serve as a Medical officer for the Peace Corps stationed in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Her career path has seen her work with the Center for Disease Control, NASA and professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College.
Prof. Jemison is the founder of a company that researches, markets, and develops science and technology for daily life. She also started a foundation which encourages young students to consider means of solving current global problems among other things and helped develop a portable device that allows mobile monitoring of the involuntary nervous system. Her other accomplishments include appearing in an episode of Star Trek, hosting a Discovery Channel series and setting up a STEM academy.
In addition to her achievements, Prof. Jemison is an avid public speaker who continues to advocate strongly in favor of science education and getting minority students interested in science. She is the recipient of multiple awards including an Essence Science and Technology Award, Ebony magazine’s 50 Most Influential Women, induction into the National Women’shall of Fame and multiple honorary doctorates.