Kobre & Kim Honors Mae Jemison for Black History Month

February 21, 2020

In honor of Black History Month, Kobre & Kim continues its reflections on the unique contributions made by African Americans both inside and outside the legal industry by featuring astronaut and physician Mae Jemison.

As a child, Ms. Jemison enjoyed studying science but was frustrated at the lack of female astronauts in the Apollo missions. She entered Stanford University when she was just 16, graduating with degrees in chemical engineering and African and African American studies. She then earned a medical degree from Cornell University, joining the Peace Corps as a doctor in Liberia and Sierra Leone from 1983 to 1985. 

Inspired by Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, Ms. Jemison switched careers to follow a lifelong dream, joining NASA’s astronaut corps in 1987. In 1992, she became the first African American woman in space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, orbiting Earth for almost eight days. 

She left NASA in 1993 and founded a technology research company and a non-profit educational foundation, leading the 100 Year Starship project that aims to enable humans to achieve interstellar travel within a century. Her foundation also established an international science camp, and Ms. Jemison continues to advocate for science education and engage students of color interested in science.