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Wednesday's Women in STEM: Mae C. Jemison

For this week’s Wednesday’s Women in STEM Series, we spotlight a woman who shows girls that you don’t have to choose science or dance but can pursue both at the same time. Mae C. Jemison is an American astronaut and physician who, on June 4, 1987, became the first African American woman to be admitted into NASA’s astronaut training program. On September 12, 1992, Jemison finally flew into space with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47, becoming the first African American woman in space. Additionally, she loved to dance and was an excellent jazz dancer! She once said: “Many people do not see a connection between science and dance, but I consider them both to be expressions of the boundless creativity that people have to share with one another.”

Growing up, Jemison loved both science and dance. She was very involved in extracurricular activities, including dance and theater productions, and served as head of the Black Student Union. She danced and choreographed throughout college at Stanford while studying hard to become a chemical engineer. After college, Jemison attended medical school at Cornell Medical College while also taking dance lessons at the Alvin Ailey Dance School.  Inspired by the astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space in 1983, she applied to NASA’s astronaut program as one of few black women. She was accepted for astronaut training in 1987. Her first mission was aboard the Shuttle Endeavour in September of 1992 as a Science Mission Specialist. Jemison worked as a Science Mission Specialist with NASA until 1993. After leaving the astronaut corps, Jemison accepted a teaching fellowship at Dartmouth. She also established the Jemison Group, a company that seeks to research, develop, and market advanced technologies to advance technology in developing countries. 

Mae Jemison found a way to pursue a careering in engineering, medicine, and space travel while not giving up on her passion for dance.  Her determination and perseverance as a female minority helped her become the first African-American woman in space. Don’t give up on your passions for the sake of education. If Mae could do it, anyone can. Believe in yourself and show the world who you are!

BY: Wafa Akbar

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