The first African-American woman in space, Dr. Mae C. Johnson was born on October 17, 1956 in Decatur, Alabama but considers Chicago, Illinois her hometown. |
Mae Jemison was the first African American female in space. She received a Bachelor in Chemical Engineering (and completed the requirements for a Bachelor in African and Afro-American studies) at Stanford University in 1977. Mae also received a Doctorate degree in medicine from Cornell University in 1981. After medical school she did post graduate medical training at the Los Angeles County University of Southern California Medical Center. Jemison's background includes work in the areas of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and reproductive biology. She also developed and participated in research projects on the Hepatitis B vaccine and rabies. Jemison was a General Practitioner and attending graduate Engineering classes in Los Angeles when she was named an astronaut candidate in 1987. She flew her first flight as a science mission specialist on STS-47, Spacelab-J, in September 1992. In completing her first space flight, Jemison logged 190 hours, 30 minutes and 23 seconds in space. Jemison resigned from NASA in March of 1993. In 1994, she founded and began a term as chair of The Earth We Share (TEWS), an annual international science camp where students, aged 12 to 16, work together to solve current global dilemmas. From 1995-2002 she was a professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame and several corporate boards of directors on the Texas Governor's State Council for Science and Biotechnology Development. Dr. Johnson published her memoirs, Find Where DE: the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life in 2001. She currently resides in Houston, Texas. She has appeared on television several times, including as an actress in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She is a dancer, and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities.
She was the youngest child of Charlie Jamison and Dorothy Green. Her father was a maintenance supervisor for a charity organization, and her mother worked most of her career as an elementary school teacher…