To this day, she has high regard for her parents’ example and strong support for her interest in the sciences from a young age. In a 2005 press release, Jemison noted “my parents were the best scientists I knew because they were always asking questions.”After having already established herself as a successful physician, Mae Jemison decided to chase her childhood dream of working with NASA. She was largely inspired by Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to space, when applying to the highly distinguished astronaut program.
She was soon invited to start the rigorous training that ultimately enabled her to become the first female African American astronaut!As a specialist within the STA-47 mission, she worked with other astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavor to carry out bone cell research experiments during their space voyage. Through the work she accomplished as a part of this successful mission, Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel to outer space!
Today, she describes space travel as “exhilarating, important, and evolving.” Jemison has committed herself to sharing the power of this enriching experience by encouraging young people to stay curious and be willing to explore all that science has to offer.
One of her current projects specifically aims to advance studies of space travel beyond our solar system!