BLACK HERSTORY MONTH: Mae Jemison - Boulo Solutions
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BLACK HERSTORY MONTH: Mae Jemison

BLACK HERSTORY MONTH: Mae Jemison

Boulo Solutions would not be here if it wasn’t for women. Women are incredibly powerful, and there is no denying the trailblazers they are. In honor of Black History Month, Boulo will be highlighting the story of powerful Black women every week, in other words, we are celebrating Black HERstory month. Today, we have the honor of highlighting one of many: the inspiring Mae Jemison.

Have you heard of Mae Jemison?

Mae Jemison is the first African American female astronaut to travel to space. Mae always had a curiosity in science, especially astronomy from a young age. She went on to Stanford University at age 17 to major in chemical engineering. After she obtained her degree, she worked as a medical doctor for two years in Liberia. In 1985 when she flew back to the United States from Liberia, she decided she want to pursue her dream career instead- to be an astronaut. She applied for NASA’s astronaut training program and was one of the 15 candidates chosen from 2,000 applicants. She did a full year of training and was able to become the first African American woman astronaut. She became the first African American woman in space on September 12, 1992, when she and her crew of 6 flew into space on the Endeavor mission STS47!

What should you take out of Mae Jemison’s story?

During her career, Mae talked about the different challenges she had to overcome to become an astronaut. Her biggest obstacle, in her words, was “being a black woman in America.” Growing up, she faced inequality inside and outside the classroom by her own professors. As being one of the only African American students in her class, Jemison experienced racial discrimination in school. Despite this, she did not let those circumstances affect her, she kept working hard to achieve her dreams.

Her talents went beyond Astro-engineer, she received her Doctorate in medical school, spoke 3 languages fluently, served in the peace corps; she didn’t stop there. When she saw Sally Ride become the first American woman in space, Jemison decided to apply. However, even after all those accomplishments, when Mae applied for NASA’s astronaut training program, she was turned down. After anxiously waiting, NASA then called her soon after and asked her if she still wanted to join, to which she said yes! She kept pushing forward, not letting the hardships stop her. Just like Mae, we may be questioning our worth, questioning everything we have worked hard for during our job search, and just like Mae, we will persevere. If you have a dream or a want, keep going. Whether your dream is returning to work or wanting to explore something new, Boulo Solutions can help you!

Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go to space, pictured at a National Geographic event in New York in March 2018. (Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

Encouragement from Mae Jemison:

Those questioning their place in the workforce:

  • “More women should demand to be involved. It’s our right. This is one area where women can get in on the ground floor and possibly help to direct where space exploration will go in the future.”
  • “You have the right to be involved. You have something important to contribute, and you have to take the risk to contribute it.”

Those struggling with their self-worth while looking for jobs:

  • “There have been lots of other women who had the talent and ability before me. And I hope it means that I’m just the first in a long line.”
  • “Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity.”
  • “The thing that I have done throughout my life is to do the best job that I can and to be me.”
  • “I am as much a part of this universe as any speck of stardust.”

Bibliography:

Kerri Lee Alexander, “Mae Jemison”, NHWM, 2018[TKC1] 

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. “Mae Jemison.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/biography/Mae-Jemison.