Jemison aboard the Spacelab-J module on the Earth-orbiting Endeavour in 1992.
“Time is an irreplaceable commodity — limited, but full of possibilities,” the astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison said when she visited campus in late January. “What do you intend to be?” she asked students. “You decide, then work on it every day.” Jemison was the first woman of color to travel into space — on the space shuttle Endeavour in 1992 — and also is the founder and president of two medical technology companies and the head of 100 Year Starship, a nonprofit that aims to make human travel beyond our solar system a reality within the next century. She delivered the keynote address for NMH’s week-long celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Jemison grew up in Alabama during the 1960s and remembers the civil-rights movement and Dr. King. To fulfill his legacy, she said, each of us needs “to acknowledge, develop, and use our skills and talents to effect positive change in the world.” Jemison encouraged her young audience to consider what they might accomplish. “You can do much more than people think you can or will offer to let you do,” she said. “Don’t doubt. Dare. Put yourself out there. Daring makes a difference.” Jemison should know. Before she boarded the Endeavour as a mission specialist, she enrolled at Stanford at 16, went to medical school and practiced medicine, served in the Peace Corps in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and joined NASA in 1987. After traveling into space, she founded an international science camp in the 1990s and started the Jemison Group, Inc., a technology-consulting firm that integrates sociocultural issues into the design of engineering and science projects. She has also trained as an engineer and a dancer, taught environmental studies at Dartmouth College, and appeared on television in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
We Have Lift-off
Astronaut Mae Jemison says, “Don’t Doubt. Dare.” B Y EMILY HAR RISO N W E IR
The Magazine of Northfield Mount Hermon