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Mae Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first African-American woman to enter space when she served on the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavor in September 1992.
Early life[change | change source]
Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama. She moved to Chicago at age three. Her brother and sisters are Charlie, Dorothy, Ada, and Charles Jemison. She graduated high school at the age of 16. She studied at Stanford University on a scholarship. There she got a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering in 1977. As she had been in high school, Jemison was very involved in extracurricular activities at Stanford. These included dance and theater productions. She was also the head of the Black Student union.
After graduating from medical school (Cornell University, 1981), Jemison joined the Peace Corps. She served as its area medical officer from 1983 to 1985 in the West African countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Career[change | change source]
Jemison worked at NASA from 1987 to 1993. She later founded The Jemison Group, Inc., which developed ALAFIYA, a satellite-based telecommunications system. This system was to be used to improve healthcare delivery in developing nations. She also was a professor in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College. There she directed the Jemison Institute for Advancing Technology in Developing Countries. She has studied astronomy, zoology, archaeology, and many other studies.