Portrait of Mae Carol Jemison, the first black woman to walk into space

In September 1992, Mae Carol Jemison made black women proud. In fact, she wrote history by being the first black female astronaut to go into space. She has always been fascinated by science and space, and since she is an ambitious woman, she struggled to see her dreams through. In fact, space travel was her biggest dream, and with the support of astronauts like Guy Bluford Jr. and Sally Ride she was able to achieve it.

Who is Mae Carol Jemison?

Mae Carol Jemison is the youngest daughter of Charlie Jemison, a charity worker, and Dorothy Green, an English and maths teacher. She was born on October 17, 1956 in Decatur, Alabama, USA. His parents decided to move to Chicago to provide their children with better educational opportunities. She was only 3 years old at the time.

Since early childhood, she has always dreamed of becoming an astronaut and showed great interest in science. In addition, she is a fan of the character of Uhura, an African-American lieutenant in charge of communication in the series. star trek. His parents have always supported his passion and have never missed an opportunity to arouse his curiosity and his sense of experimentation. Mae was never impressed by people who told her that science was not for women.

An extraordinary journey

Mae Jemison is a very active person and has not just one passion. In fact, she loves to dance and takes lessons in African dance, ballet and modern dance. So apart from her love of science and space, she wants to become a professional dancer. As a 14-year-old, she auditioned for the role of Maria in West Side Story but she was not retained. She performed as a dancer.

After that, she worked hard and joined Stanford University at the age of 16. During her college career, she is often confronted with racism and sexism, but she does not give up and continues on her path. In 1977, she thus obtained an engineering degree in chemical engineering. Then, in 1981, she joined Cornell University, where she earned a medical degree.

The course of his career

After her studies, she joined the Peace Corps and worked there for 2 years as a doctor with volunteers in Africa (Liberia and Sierra Leone). Then, in 1987, she decided to apply for NASA’s training program. And she does not go unnoticed because she is one of the 14 people listed among the 2,000 candidates.

Within NASA, Mae Jemison is working on the launch of the first shuttles following the Challenger accident at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Finally, on September 12, 1992, she reached her goal. She embarks on the space shuttle Endeavor for the space shuttle’s fiftieth mission, STS-47. In 8 days, Mae thus orbited the Earth 127 times. Her mission was to perform experiments with bone cells and space sickness.

During space travel, astronauts often bring small personal souvenirs, and she chose several that were special to her. These include the image of Bessie Coleman (the first black woman to receive a pilot certificate), the flag of the Organization of African Unity, an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority banner, and proclamations from the Chicago Public Schools System and from the DuSable Museum of African American History.

His scientific projects

In 1993, Mae left Jemison NASA and created his own company, which is none other than the Jemison Group. His company conducts research and develops science and technology in the service of everyday life. In honor of her mother, she also created the “Dorothy Jemison Foundation.” The latter leads a project called “The Earth We Share” and offers an international science camp where teens ages 12 to 16 work to solve current global problems.

At the same time, she took up a teaching position in environmental science at Dartmouth College. As an active member of many scientific organizations, she strongly encourages and supports a taste for science among students with minority backgrounds. She is a remarkably dynamic woman. Therefore, in addition to her teaching activities, she also works with research and development projects on the nervous system in particular.

Despite all her accomplishments and the fact that she was an astronaut, she still faces stigma similar to what she experienced as a student in Chicago. Nevertheless, she never gave up and remains persistent. And she emphasizes the importance of excelling in school. Because of her accomplishments, a school in Detroit was named in her honor, Mae C. Jemison Academy.

To move on, also discover 6 other female astronauts who have marked the story of the conquest of space.

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