Biography Of Mae C. Jemison – First African American Woman Astronaut in Space – Black History, Age, Family, Career & More

Who is Mae C. Jemison?


Mae C. Jemison is an American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first African-American woman to travel to space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. Before joining NASA, she worked as a doctor in the Peace Corps and as a medical officer for the Centers for Disease Control. She has also founded several organizations focused on STEM education and social justice, and has been a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the fields of science and technology.

Age & Place of Birth

Mae C. Jemison was born on October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama. Her family later moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she spent most of her childhood.

Childhood Story

Mae Jemison’s childhood was filled with inspiration and encouragement. Her parents, who were both educators, always stressed the importance of education and hard work. They were also supportive of her interests, whether it was science, music, or dance. In fact, she was a talented dancer and even considered pursuing a career in it before deciding to focus on science. Throughout her childhood, she also faced the challenge of being a Black woman in a society that was often prejudiced against people of color. But her family’s support and her own determination helped her overcome these obstacles and succeed in her chosen field.

Family Background

Mae C. Jemison’s family played a significant role in shaping her interests and achievements. Her mother, Dorothy Jemison, was a teacher and social worker, and her father, Charlie Jemison, was a carpenter and bricklayer. Both of her parents instilled in her the importance of education and hard work. Her mother was also an avid reader, which inspired Mae to develop a love of books and learning at a young age. In addition, her father taught her the importance of problem-solving and hands-on work. These influences helped to prepare her for her future in science and engineering.



Mae Jemison has been married twice. Her first marriage was to engineer and entrepreneur Michael F. Jemison, and the couple had one child together. They divorced in 1987. In 2001, she married technology entrepreneur Floyd A. Hall, and the couple had no children. Hall passed away in 2013. Jemison has spoken about the importance of maintaining a work-life balance, and how her family life has informed her career. She has also spoken about the challenges of being a female scientist and engineer in a male-dominated field.

Educational Background & Qualifications

Mae Jemison’s educational background is impressive and diverse. After earning her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University, she went on to earn her medical degree from Cornell University. During her medical training, she also studied in Cuba and Kenya, gaining experience in different healthcare systems and developing a greater understanding of global health issues. In addition to her formal education, she also has a background in dance and was a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. These varied experiences helped to shape her perspective and approach to problem-solving.

There are so many fascinating aspects of Mae Jemison’s life and career to explore! We could talk about her work in space, her efforts to promote diversity in STEM fields, her humanitarian work, or her commitment to the arts.


Mae Jemison’s career has been incredibly diverse, spanning medicine, engineering, space exploration, and the arts. She began her career as a medical doctor, working as a general practitioner and also teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles. She then joined NASA in 1987, becoming the first African-American woman to be selected as an astronaut candidate. In 1992, she made history when she became the first African-American woman to travel to space, serving as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. After retiring from NASA in 1993, she founded two organizations dedicated to STEM education and social justice.


One of the most fascinating aspects of Mae Jemison’s career is her commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She has spoken out about the need for greater representation of women and minorities in these fields, and has worked to create programs that make STEM education more accessible to all. She has also spoken out about the importance of collaboration and teamwork, both in space exploration and in other fields.

Her Journey With NASA

Mae Jemison’s journey with NASA began in 1987, when she was selected as a mission specialist candidate in the agency’s astronaut program. She spent the next five years training and preparing for spaceflight. Her first mission, STS-47, was aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour in September 1992. During the mission, she served as a science mission specialist, conducting experiments in life sciences, biotechnology, and materials processing. The mission was also notable for its diverse crew, which included representatives from four different nations. After her return to Earth, she retired from NASA, but continued to advocate for space exploration and education.

After her time with NASA, Mae Jemison founded two organizations: The Jemison Group and The Earth We Share (TEWS). The Jemison Group is a consulting firm that focuses on the application of technology for social impact, while TEWS is a science camp and curriculum that aims to foster global collaboration and problem-solving. Through these organizations, Jemison has worked to increase access to STEM education and promote the importance of global citizenship. In addition, she has served as a professor at various universities and worked with organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations.


Throughout her career, Mae Jemison has achieved many impressive accomplishments. Her most notable achievement is becoming the first African-American woman to travel to space. She has also been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, received the National Space Society’s von Braun Award for Excellence, and been named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. In addition, she has received numerous honorary degrees and awards for her contributions to science and society. She is also a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering.

In addition to her professional achievements, Mae Jemison is also known for her commitment to inspiring the next generation of scientists and explorers. She has spoken to students around the world about the importance of STEM education and the potential for space exploration to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. She has also founded several organizations that aim to increase access to STEM education and provide opportunities for young people to pursue careers in science and technology. She believes that everyone has the capacity to make a positive impact on the world, regardless of their background or circumstances.

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