Badass Scientist of the Week: Mae Jemison
Born in 1956 to a maintenance worker and a teacher, Mae Jemison graduated high school at sixteen and went on to simultaneously earn a BS in Chemical Engineering and a BA in African-American Studies from Stanford University. She studied medicine at Cornell, during which she travelled to Cuba, Kenya and Thailand to provided medical care, then served as a medical officer in the Peace Corps from 1983–1985 in Sierra Leone and West Africa, where she researched Hepatitis B, schistosomaisis and rabies vaccines. After returning to the US, Jemison enrolled in graduate engineering classes and applied to NASA’s astronaut program. Her first application was turned down, but in 1987 she was chosen as one of fifteen candidates out of 2,000 applicants. In 1992, she became a co-investigator on bone cell research on the shuttle Endeavour (STS-47 Spacelab-J), a cooperative mission between the US and Japan. The mission lasted eight days—Jemison logged 190 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds in space, making her the first female African-American astronaut. Oh, and she’s also fluent in Russian, Japanese and Swahili, she’s trained in dance and choreography, and she was the first real astronaut to appear on Star Trek in 1993.
Maes are awesome people. js