13 Facts About Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison is a pioneering figure who has left an indelible mark on science and space exploration.

Born on October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama, she grew up with an unwavering fascination for the universe.

This passion led her to become the first African American woman to travel to space, a historic achievement that took place on September 12, 1992, during the Space Shuttle Endeavour mission.

Jemison’s journey is defined not only by her groundbreaking spaceflight but also by her commitment to education and diversity. After leaving NASA, she continued to advocate for STEM education, aiming to empower underrepresented groups in science and technology.

Her legacy expands beyond the boundaries of space, encompassing her advocacy, entrepreneurial ventures, and artistic pursuits. Mae Jemison’s story serves as an inspiration for countless individuals, illustrating the power of determination, curiosity, and the pursuit of dreams.

Mae Jemison Facts

1. Born on October 17, 1956, in Alabama, USA

Mae Carol Jemison was born on October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama. She grew up in a tight-knit family in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents, Charlie Jemison and Dorothy Green Jemison, emphasized the importance of education and encouraged her curiosity.

Mae Jemison

2. Interested in science from a young age

Even as a child, Jemison showed a deep fascination with science and space. She was captivated by the Apollo missions and dreamed of becoming an astronaut one day. This early interest sparked her lifelong passion for exploration and learning.

3. Graduated from Stanford University in chemical engineering

Jemison’s academic journey led her to Stanford University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering in 1977.

Also Read: Mae Jemison Timeline

Her time at Stanford allowed her to cultivate her scientific knowledge and skills, setting the stage for her future achievements.

4. Earned a medical degree from Cornell University

After completing her undergraduate studies, Jemison pursued a Doctor of Medicine degree at Cornell University’s Medical College. She completed her medical studies in 1981, becoming a licensed medical doctor.

This academic achievement was significant in its own right and demonstrated her versatility in pursuing both scientific and medical fields.

5. Served in the Peace Corps in Liberia and Sierra Leone

After completing her medical studies, Jemison’s passion for helping others led her to join the Peace Corps. From 1983 to 1985, she served as a medical officer in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Also Read: Accomplishments of Mae Jemison

Her medical expertise was instrumental in providing healthcare to under-served communities in these countries, showcasing her commitment to making a positive impact on a global scale.

6. First African American woman chosen as a NASA astronaut in 1987

Mae Jemison’s groundbreaking achievement came in 1987 when she was selected as one of 15 candidates for NASA’s astronaut program.

Her selection was historic as she became the first African American woman to be chosen as a NASA astronaut. Her selection shattered barriers and opened doors for greater diversity in the field of space exploration.

Mae Jemison - Official portrait

7. Flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992

Jemison made history on September 12, 1992, when she became the first African American woman to travel to space. She served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour during mission STS-47.

The mission focused on conducting scientific experiments related to life sciences in microgravity, including studying the effects of weightlessness on living organisms.

8. Conducted experiments in space related to life sciences

During her time in space, Jemison participated in various experiments that contributed to our understanding of human physiology and scientific research in space environments. Her contributions were integral to advancing space exploration and paving the way for future missions.

9. Founded the Jemison Group for technology and consulting

After leaving NASA in 1993, Mae Jemison’s dedication to education and advocacy became more pronounced.

She founded the Jemison Group, a company that aimed to use technology and science to solve real-world problems.

10. Strong advocate for STEM education

Importantly, she continued to advocate for STEM education, particularly for girls and underrepresented minority groups, aiming to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and astronauts.

11. Involved in the 100 Year Starship project for interstellar travel

One of Mae Jemison’s most visionary endeavors is her involvement in the 100 Year Starship project. Launched in 2012, this initiative aims to make human interstellar travel a reality within the next century.

Jemison’s leadership in the project reflects her unyielding belief in the power of exploration and her dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

12. Inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame

Throughout her career, Mae Jemison has received a multitude of awards and recognitions for her pioneering work.

In 1992, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, a testament to her groundbreaking achievements as an astronaut and her contributions to science and society.

Her induction into the International Space Hall of Fame further solidifies her legacy as a trailblazer in space exploration.

13. Accomplished dancer and artistic pursuits

Mae Jemison’s interests extend beyond the realm of science and space. She is a trained dancer and has a strong affinity for the arts. Her background in dance and theater has enriched her perspective on creativity, innovation, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

This unique combination of interests underscores her well-rounded approach to life and her belief in the integration of different disciplines for holistic growth and advancement.