Mae Carol JemisonOctober 16, 1956-PresentDoctor, Chemical Engineer, Astronaut, Teacher, Innovator, Inventor

Educational Background/Personal Life Details:
Mae Carol Jemison was born on October 16, 1956 in Decatur, Alabama. At age three, she moved to Chicago with her family to gain a better education. Her parents played a significant role in her life. Charlie, her father, was a carpenter and Dorothy, her mother, was an elementary school teacher. Mae has one sister who is a child psychiatrist and one brother who is a real estate broker. As a child, Mae was studious and intrigued in her studies. She would spend ample time in the library reading about science and she had always loved space travel.

Graduating as an honors student in the Class of 1973 from Morgan Park High School, Mae pursued her education at Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship. While in college, Mae took advantage of all aspects of the college life, such as being the head of the Blue Student Union. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering. In 1977, she also earned a B.A. in African and Afro-American studies. After Stanford, Mae continued onto the Cornell University Medical College to earn a medical degree. During her years in the cold Upstate New York, Mae studied in Cuba and Kenya, and she worked in Thailand at a Cambodian Refugee
Camp. In 1981, she received her doctorate degree and then decided to continue training at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center. After completing training, she established a general practice.

From 1981 to 1983, Mae served as the Peace Corps medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia. When she returned to America, she decided to veer and apply to NASA's astronaut training program. She was one of 15 chosen applicants from about 2,000. She was the first woman to ever be accepted to the program.

Today, Mae Jemison enjoys traveling, graphic arts, photography, sewing, skiing, collecting African Art, and weight training. She is talented in dance and still loves to read. She speaks three languages: Russian, Swahili, and Japanese.

Career and Accomplishments in Engineering:
Mae Jemison attained a four year scholarship to attend the prestigious Stanford University from 1973-1977. She meshed her love of culture and science in a dual study of Chemical Engineering and African-American Studies, becoming a master of the two and soaking up the knowledge to only expand on her great Ideas.

From 1983-1985 Mae spent time as a medical adviser in a sect of the American Peace Corps. She worked in Sierra Leone, Liberia, in an effort to organize the medical system there. In efforts of the CDFC , Center for Disease Control, she did research in the areas of disease, such including rabies, Hepatitis B vaccine, and Schistosomaisis.

After her time abroad and work in research, Dr. Jemison came back to the U.S. to work in the organization of the medical cares system in California. While she was here she was drafted into their astronaut program in 1985. She then spent the next portion of her career training, researching, and preparing for launch. Jemison worked in the shuttle control center at the Kennedy Space Center and did research until 1992 when she herself took flight as part of the crew of “The Endeavour.”
Kennedy Space Center

In flight she served as the Mission Integration Laboratory Science Specialist. Her research was focused on the human experience of motion sickness in space, the effect space has on human calcium levels, and the effects of weightlessness on development of organisms. These topics were well married with her background in Medical research, she focuses on finding solutions to problems and issues with the human body, where her interests thrive. Mae made advancements in this research, within the 190 hours, 30 minutes, and 23 seconds she was in space.

In March of 1993, a year after The Endeavour mission, Mae left NASA. The next turn on Dr. Jemison’s career path was her own company, The Jemison Group. The group does counsels companies that are working in innovative ways with technologies in the developing world. For example the Group worked with a company on refining and perfecting the use of solar thermal energy as generators in developing countries and rural areas. As a result of her engineering and environmental work, Dr. Jemison became a professor on sustainable technology design at Dartmouth College from 1995-2001.

As a by-product of The Jemison Group, in 1999 they created BioSentient, a company that focused on creating and designing mobile medical devices. These devices were focused mainly around the bodies stress levels and managing them to help the body respond to stressful situations.

Explanation Questions:
A: Why did you choose this scientist?
We chose Dr. Mae Jemison on the basis of her achievements in the early engineering and science world as a woman. She was famous for her work on The Endeavour and for her time at NASA, but she stood for much more than that. She understands the importance of youth and women in science. Her efforts to help others fly across all different mediums; from the medical field to inspirational talks, Jemison works to challenge individuals to go after their aspirations. caught our eye because she was a change-making woman. She has been influential through leadership and example. As two seventeen-year-old girls, we look up to women like Mae.

B: What problem was he/she trying to address or what discovery was this engineer noted for?
She was noted for her brilliance. Jemison was enrolled at a young age on a National Achievement Scholarship at the prestigious Stanford University. She took her knowledge of chemical engineering and applied in to real world situations in her work in the Peace Corps and abroad, as well as in the U.S., at NASA, and through her own corporation, The Jemison Group. She takes her knowledge of people and engineering and tries to create sustainable and innovative technology in medicine. She has helped many people around the world, including direct effects on our lives with her work with Hepatitis shots.

C: How did they go about solving (or investigating) this problem or making this discovery?
Jemison did hands on research for NASA on the effects of space on the body. She focused on the way the body responds to its surroundings, she worked as the specialist on the mission. Here she gained experience and an inspiration. She did not “solve” any particular problems on the mission but she did discover her passion for combining medical science through innovation, which she further continued throughout the rest of her career. Mae is an underspoken woman who lives life in the moment. She makes the best out of each situation and absorbs all the information she can possibly obtain.
D: How was engineering involved in the problem or discovery?
She worked mainly with Biomedical and chemical engineering throughout her research and career. She used her education and love of the sciences to help with her medical and NASA work.

E: What fields of study became important that contributed valuable knowledge for this individual to make their discovery?
Her time in the Peace Corps greatly contributed to her career. Mae was exposed to third world and developing countries where much basic medical help was needed. She was inspired by all she could do with her experience as a doctor and designer to combine the skills and come up with solutions. Ultimately her work came full circle, she started off in basic medical care, and ended trying to take medical care to the next step.

F: What were the overall effects of the discovery on science and humanity?
Her discoveries in research were exponential in that her final work oversees tons of companies and inventors in their work to increase quality of life. The Jemison Group stands as the guardian and adviser to individuals that are striving to do just what Dr. Jemison did. They are all working collectively to clean up medical care. She has benefitted third world countries as well as the United States. She is a selfless, charitable, intelligent woman.

G: How has the work of this engineer impacted your life or those around you?
Her work has impacted the lives of many young girls, students of color, aspiring scientists, and researchers. She has represented an individual with tremendous drive and ideas of innovation. Her career path screams success, in that she drew qualities of each endeavor and weaved them into her own corporation. Mae Jemison has a positive spirit that emulates through her work, she reaches the people that need her the most. The amazing thing about the Jemison is her fearless character. Born in a town where colored people were not accepted as individuals, she and her family realized that it was in their best interest to move. From then on, she has embraced the world she lives in, and she works at every minute to make the world even better.

1956 Mae Carol Jemison was born on October 16, 1956 in Decatur, Alabama
1959 Moved to Chicago
1973 Graduated with National Achievement Scholarship from Morgan Park High School, went to Stanford University
1977 Graduated from Stanford with a Bachelors of Science in chemical engineering and a B.A. in African and Afro-American studies
1979 CIBA Award for student involvement, AMSA (American Medical Student Association) study group to go to Cuba, Grant from the International travelers Institute for health studies in rural Kenya
1980 Worked refugee camp in Thailand
1983-1985 Was a medical advisor and coordinator for the American Peace Corps in Sierra Leon Liberia
1985 Drafted from NASA while she was working in the health care system in California
1987 Selected into the program in June, worked in Launch support at Kennedy Space Center, Studied shuttle avionics in the Integration Laboratory
1988 Recipient of the Essence Science and Technology award
1989 Gamma Sigma Gamma Woman of the YearNASA_Logo.gif
1990-1992 American Sickle Cell foundation board
1991 Honorary Doctorate of Sciences Lincoln College, Pennsylvania
1992 Involved in mission between Japan and United States (STS-47 Spacelab-J) She and six other astronauts went into space on the Endeavour to complete 127 orbits of the earth. She was on the Endeavour 190 hours, 30 mins, 23 secs in space, Kennedy Space center
1992 The Mae C. Jemison Academy, alternate public school in Detroit Michigan
1992 Ebony Black Achievement Award
1993 March-Jemison left NASA
1993 The Jemison Group, works with an consults for other companies about science and technology for daily life
1993 People’s list of top 50 most beautiful people
1995-2001 Jemison taught classes at Dartmouth College on sustainable development and Technology
1999 Creates the BioSentient Inc. (by the Jemison Group), it is created to produce and research mobile medical technology

Helpful Article: Former Astronaut Mae Jemison Brings her Message Down to Earth Stanford Today

Click HERE to access Dr. Mae Jemison's own site!

Works Cited:
"African American Lives . Profiles . Mae Jemison | PBS." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.
"Astronaut Bio:Mae C. Jemison." NASA - Johnson Space Center. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.
"Bios: Mae Jemison." Syfy Visions for Tomorrow. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.
Blue, Rose. Mae Jemison: Out of This World. Lerner Group, 2002.
Gunasena, Nadee. "Groundbreaking Astronaut to Explore Science and Human Potential." Washington University in St. Louis Newsroom. Washington University in St. Louis, 5 Oct. 2005. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.
The Dorothy Jemison Foundation. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.
"Mae Jemison Biography - Life, Family, Childhood, Children, Parents, School, Young, Information, Born, College.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.
"Then & Now: Dr. Mae Jemison." CNN. 19 June 2005. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.
"Women in Science: Mae Jemison--Astronaut, Physician & Engineer." We Help You Protect Your Ideas, Innovations, Inventions. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.

VIDEO TED Talk with Dr. Jemison: