This week marks the 25th anniversary since the successful conclusion of Mae Jemison’s mission into space, the first black female astronaut in history. From a young age, Jemison had a keen interest in both science and space, and the desire to become more than what she felt society had already laid out of her. Find out about her exciting story here!
Born in Alabama in October 1956, Jemison is the youngest of three children. At a young age, she moved to Chicago, where her family felt she would enjoy greater educational opportunities. For Mae, this was refuted at a young age, when upon telling her Nursery School Teacher that she wanted to be a scientist, she was reportedly met with the question: “Don’t you mean a Nurse?” Jemison was furious with this assumption, that a black woman could not aspire to be something more than a nurse, and set about proving the negative voices wrong.
She soon began scouring fiction books, staring up at the sky, and discovered Star Trek, where her love of space is originally said to have emanated from. With a keen interest in dance, Jemison was determined not to let her career ambitions as a scientist damage her other pursuits, and regularly appeared in shows at university… a talent for entertaining that would later transmit into an appearance on Star Trek!
Graduating from Stanford with a degree in chemical engineering in 1977, Jemison went onto study medicine, before working as a Doctor in Africa. When she returned from this position, the young scientist decided it was time to let her love of space come to the forefront, and applied to NASA’s astronaut training programme. It was from that that she went onto make history as the first African American woman in space, though she insists that this was not her motivation: following her passion for space and science was the key driving force.
For the full story simply click on the video above, and for help in steering your pathway to the future, visit Your Life’s Future Finder.