Mae Carol Jemison ( October 17, 1956 - )
Mad Engineer - Scientist Under the Microscope
Houston, you are cleared for liftoff. In September of 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison sat aboard the Endeavour spaceship anxiously waiting to be launched into orbit. All of her childhood dreams of becoming a scientist in space accomplished with a simple phrase. As the Endeavour broke through the Earth’s atmosphere, Mae Jemison not only became the first African American woman in space, but also the first astronaut who was a physician, engineer, and author.
Rewind back to 1961 when Jemison was entering the first day of kindergarten with big hopes and dreams. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she confidently responded: “A scientist.” From here, she went on to complete high school at age 16 and began undergraduate studies at Stanford University majoring in chemical engineering as well as African American studies. Jemison went on to earn a medical degree from Cornell University and began to work as a general practitioner traveling to Cuba, Thailand, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to heal nations. However, Jemison knew that she wanted to accomplish more as she looked up at the stars.
So, in 1987 Jemison applied and was accepted out of ~2,000 applicants to be apart of the NASA Astronaut Group 12. She began working as a Mission Specialist which was a new role reserved for scientists to conduct aerospace experiments. During the eight day mission, Jemison spearheaded projects that investigated reproduction and growth possibilities in zero gravity and methods for possible treatment for motion sickness, anxiety and stress-related disorders.
Jemison spent a total of 190 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds outside of Earth’s atmosphere, and orbited the planet 127 times. After landing, Jemison noted that society should recognize how much both women and minority groups can contribute if given the opportunity. Today, she has many foundations and has added CEO to her long list of accomplishments by owning a technology research company.
Legends are not born, they are made from a decision to remain dedicated and passionate towards a goal. We learn from Jemison that the sky is not the limit, because we can even pass the stars.
“I felt like I belonged right there in space and would feel comfortable anywhere in the universe, because I belonged to and was a part of it, as much as any star, planet, asteroid, comet, or nebula.” – Dr. Mae C. Jemison
Isaiah 40:26 – ‘Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of His great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.’