Mae C. Jemison

—Mae C. Jemison

Mae C. Jemison is the first African-American female astronaut. In 1992, she flew into space aboard the Endeavour,

becoming the first African-American woman in space.

Mae Jemison - Mini Biography
Mae Jemison - Mini Biography (TV-14; 2:23) A short biography of Mae Jemison, who became the first
African American woman in space when she thrust into orbit on the shuttle Endeavour in 1992.


Mae C. Jemison was born on October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama. On June 4, 1987, she became the first African-American

woman to be admitted into the 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. In recognition of her

accomplishments, Jemison has received several awards and honorary doctorates.

Early Life

Astronaut and physician Mae Jemison was born on October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama, the youngest child of Charlie Jemison,

a roofer and carpenter, and Dorothy (Green) Jemison, an elementary school teacher. Her sister, Ada Jemison Bullock,

became a child psychiatrist, and her brother, Charles Jemison, is a real estate broker.

The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, when Jemison was 3 years old to take advantage of better educational opportunities there,

and it is that city that she calls her hometown.

Throughout her early school years, Jemison's parents were supportive and encouraging

of her talents and abilities, and she spent a considerable amount of time in her school library

reading about all aspects of science, especially astronomy. During her time at Morgan Park High School,

she became convinced she wanted to pursue a career in biomedical engineering, and when she graduated

in 1973 as a consistent honor student, she entered Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship.

Initial Career Choice

As she had been in high school, Jemison was very involved in extracurricular activities at Stanford,

including dance and theater productions, and served as head of the Black Student Union.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the university in 1977.

Upon graduation, she entered Cornell University Medical College and, during her years there,

found time to expand her horizons by studying in Cuba and Kenya and working at a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand.

After she obtained her M.D. in 1981, Jemison interned at Los Angeles County/University of

Southern California Medical Center and later worked as a general practitioner. For the next two and a half years,

she was the area Peace Corps medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia where she also taught

and did medical research. Following her return to the United States in 1985, Jemison made a career

change and decided to follow a dream she had nurtured for a long time. In October of that year,

she applied for admission to NASA's astronaut training program. The Challenger disaster of January

1986 delayed the selection process, but when she reapplied a year later, Jemison was one of the

15 candidates chosen from a field of about 2,000.

First African-American Female Astronaut

When Jemison was chosen on June 4, 1987, she became the first African-American woman to

be admitted into the astronaut training program. After more than a year of training, she became

the first African-American female astronaut, earning the title of science mission specialist—a job

that would make her responsible for conducting crew-related scientific experiments on the space shuttle.

When Jemison finally flew into space on September 12, 1992, with six other astronauts aboard the

Endeavour on mission STS47, she became the first African-American woman in space. During her

eight days in space, she conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness on the crew

and herself. In all, she spent more than 190 hours in space before returning to Earth on September 20,

1992. Following her historic flight, Jemison noted that society should recognize how much both women

and members of other minority groups can contribute if given the opportunity.

Honors and Recognition

In recognition of her accomplishments, Jemison received a number of accolades, including several

honorary doctorates, the 1988 Essence Science and Technology Award, the Ebony Black Achievement

Award in 1992 and a Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College in 1993. She was also named

Gamma Sigma Gamma Woman of the Year in 1990. Additionally, in 1992, an alternative public school

in Detroit, Michigan, the Mae C. Jemison Academy, was named after her.

Jemison has been a member of several prominent organizations, including the American Medical Association,

the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science,

and served on the board of directors of the World Sickle Cell Foundation from 1990 to 1992.

She has also served as an advisory committee member of the American Express Geography Competition

and an honorary board member of the Center for the Prevention of Childhood Malnutrition.

After leaving the astronaut corps in March 1993, Jemison accepted a teaching fellowship at Dartmouth.

She also established the Jemison Group, a company that seeks to research, develop and market advanced technologies.


Related Videos

Sally Ride - Mini Biography
Sally Ride - Mini Biography (TV-14; 3:01) Sally Ride studied at Stanford University before beating out 1000 other applicants
for a spot in NASA's astronaut program. Ride joined the Challenger shuttle mission on June 18, 1983,
and became the first American woman in space.

3 Ways to Cut Glass Without a Glass Cutter | We tend to think that we can only use a glass cutter to cut glass. Although this is the simplest method, it’s not the only way. There are three other methods that only use common household items. None of these methods of cutting glass is difficult but you should always remember to wear safety goggles and gloves for your own protection. String It is entirely possible to cut glass without a glass cutter using string. First, make sure you have a large bucket of water handy. It needs to be big enough for you to dunk the glass all the way to your elbow. Also make sure your glass is clean and dry. Take a good length of string and soak it in rubbing alcohol, then wring it dry. Tie the string around the glass where you intend to cut it. It’s vital that the string be tight; loose string won’t work in this instance. Set fire to the string next, and as soon as it’s all on fire, hold the glass and plunge it into the bucket of water. With the glass submerged, take a firm stick and hit the glass below the point where you want to cut. Doing it in the water achieves two things: the blow will be softer and the water will lessen the vibrations. The glass should break along the line of the string when you hit it. Wire Using wire to cut glass without a glass cutter is also easy. You’ll still need water; however, in this case, you need to have a tray where the glass can lie flat and be submerged to a depth of three inches. Start with a clean, dry piece of glass and use a sharp tool to lightly score the line you want to cut. Make sure your wire is longer than the cut with the ends shaped into loops. Put wood through the loops and tighten to use as handles. Heat the wire until it’s red hot. When it’s ready, place the wire along the line of the cut. As soon as you’ve done that, take the glass and fully submerge it in the water. The heat of the cut against the cold water should make the glass part along the cut of its own accord. Scissors It’s surprisingly easy to cut glass without a glass cutter using scissors. You will also need a large tray of water in order to do it this. It will need to be big enough for the glass to be fully submerged and also for your hands and the scissors to work underwater. To make it work, start by marking the line you want to cut on the glass. Next, submerge the glass fully, and simply cut along the line with a pair of scissors. You’ll find that the glass will cut just as if it were thick paper. The line you end up with won’t be perfectly sharp, but you will be able to clean it up with a blowtorch or a whetstone by rubbing gently on the edges until you have it exactly as you want it.

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