Trailblazing Astronaut Physician To Keynote MLK Observance
Dr. Mae Jemison, astronaut, physician and science and technology advocate, will be the keynote speaker at Northwestern University’s 2017 commemoration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Jemison will speak on both the Chicago and Evanston campuses.
She will deliver the keynote address at the University-wide MLK commemoration at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, at Pick- Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Dr. in Evanston. The annual program will include music and performances from Northwestern student groups.
Jemison’s Chicago campus talk will take place at 12 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23, at Hughes Auditorium, 303 E. Superior St., during a program sponsored by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.
Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Mae Jemison broke barriers as the first woman of color in the world to go into space, serving six years as a NASA astronaut. She flew aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, STS-47 Spacelab J(apan) mission in September 1992 and was NASA’s first science mission specialist performing experiments in material science, life science and human adaptation to weightlessness.
Her consulting firm, The Jemison Group, integrates socio-cultural issues into the design and implementation of technology projects, such as the use of satellite technology for health care delivery in West Africa and solar dish engines for electricity generation in developing countries.
A general practice doctor in Los Angeles, she earned bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering and African- and Afro-American studies at Stanford University and earned her M.D. from Cornell University.
Earlier in her career she worked as a Peace Corps medical officer with
Cambodian refugees and with the Flying Doctors of East Africa.
An advocate for science literacy, Jemison founded the nonprofits The Earth We Share, an international science camp for students aged 12 to 16, and TEWS-Space Race, a program to improve science achievement for Los Angeles-area students underserved and underrepresented in the sciences. She is the author of “Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments from My Life,” about growing up on the South Side of Chicago, her career aspirations and her history making journey into space.
Jemison currently leads 100 Year Starship, an initiative seed funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to assure the capability for human interstellar space travel to another star is possible within the next 100 years.
Jemison is a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine. She is an inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the National Medical Association Hall of Fame and the Texas Science Hall of Fame. Among many honors, awards and honorary degrees, she received the National Organization for Women’s Intrepid Award and the Kilby Science Award.