Happy Birthday Dr. Mae Jemison: Five Facts You May Not Know About The Trailblazer

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Today we celebrate Dr. Mae Jemison on her 60th birthday!

By Allison Lantero – Dr. Jemison became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. She is also a trained medical doctor, served as a Medical Officer in the Peace Corps and currently runs BioSentient Corp, a medical technology company.

Here are some other facts about the trailblazer you should know:

Star Trek: The Next Generation 365 (Star Trek 365)

♦ Dr. Jemison is a trained dancer — she built a dance studio in her home and even brought a poster from her dance school on her space mission. But when she was debating whether to go to medical school after college or become a professional dancer her mother advised her, “You can always dance if you’re a doctor, but you can’t doctor if you’re a dancer.”

♦ She began college at Stanford University to study chemical engineering when she was only 16 years old.

♦ Jemison faced many roadblocks to her dreams of pursuing science. Once, when Jemison said she wanted to be a scientist when she grew up, her teacher asked if she meant a nurse. She later founded The Earth We Share (TEWS), an international science camp that encourages science literacy for all.

♦ She’s afraid of heights, but she didn’t let that stop her from going into space. She says she relied on the strength of her ego to push forward.

♦ She was on an episode of Star Trek! Jemison began each of her shifts in space by saying, “Hailing frequencies open,” a reference to Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek. In 1993, Jamison appeared in her own episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation as Lieutenant Palmer.

This beautiful illustration, by Carly Wilkins, Multimedia Designer Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy, is available as a free download, which you can get here.

About the author
allison_lanteroAllison Lantero is a Digital Content Specialist in the Office of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to joining the DOE, Allison worked at the Dept. of Transportation. In her spare time she enjoys trivia, reading, and exploring D.C. She hails from Chicago and is currently in search of a decent Italian beef sandwich in D.C.

This article previously ran on Energy.gov and is republished on Women You Should Know with express permission from the author.