March is Women’s History Month in the United States- a time to celebrate the accomplishments of female presenting people and to empower women everywhere. There are plenty of amazing geeky women to celebrate, so let’s start with the first black woman in space – Mae Carol Jemison.
Mae Carol Jemison was born October 17, 1956. During her lifetime so far, she has accomplished many amazing feats. She is an engineer, physician, and NASA astronaut. In addition to those astounding careers, Dr. Jemison holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. To top all that off, she’s also a dancer and actress, even appearing in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Dr. Jemison was admitted to Stanford at the tender age of 16. By 1977, she had obtained a B.S. in chemical engineering and had fulfilled all requirements for a B.A. in African and Afro-American studies. While in college she served as head of the Black Students Union and was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “attitude, audacity, and bravery”.
She obtained a medical degree afterward from Cornell, and eventually opened her own general practice. From there, she joined the Peace Corps, where she served for two years before being selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps.
Mae Jemison made history on September 12, 1992, when she traveled into space to orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. All told, Dr. Jemison logged over 190 hours in space throughout her career as an astronaut.
Currently, Dr. Jemison serves as the principal of the 100 Year Starship organization. She retired from NASA in 1993 to found a company to research technology in daily life. She is an inspirational figure every bit deserving of her place in history.
So what do you think of this truly inspirational, real life geeky heroine? What woman or women have inspired and motivated you? Let us know in the comments and Happy Women’s History Month!