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Astronaut Mae Jemison to Speak at Clarkson University, February 17

Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first African American woman to travel in space, will step onto the stage at Clarkson University to present "From Here to There and Back Again," on Monday, February 17, at 7 p.m. in Cheel Arena.

Dr. Mae C. JemisonTickets to Dr. Jemison's presentation can be purchased online at (click on Tickets/Events, then on Hockey Tickets on-line) for $10 ($5 for those age 17 or under) until Monday, February 17, at 2 p.m.

Tickets can also be purchased at the Cheel Arena Box Office from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on February 14 or 17. If any seats remain, tickets will also be sold at the event.

“Chemical engineer, scientist, physician, teacher and astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison has a wide range of experience in technology, engineering, and medical research. In addition to her extensive background in science, she is well-versed in African and African-American Studies, speaks fluent Russian, Japanese, and Swahili, as well as English and is trained in dance and choreography," writes Nick Greene.

October 17, 1956, the city of Decatur, Ala., saw the birth of a remarkable woman, Mae Jemison. The youngest of three children born to Charlie Jemison, a maintenance worker, and his wife, Dorothy, a teacher, Mae moved with her family to Chicago at the age of 3.

After graduating from Morgan Park High School in 1973 at the age of 16, Jemison earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from Stanford University, while also fulfilling the requirements for a bachelor of arts in African-American Studies. After earning these degrees in 1977, she attended Cornell University and received a doctor of medicine degree in 1981. During medical school she traveled to Cuba, Kenya and Thailand, providing primary medical care to people living there.

Demonstrating her compassion, Dr. Jemison served in the Peace Corps, from January 1983 to June 1985. She shared her abilities in Sierra Leone and Liberia as the area Peace Corps medical officer. Among her duties, she supervised the pharmacy, laboratory, and medical staff, and provided medical care, wrote self-care manuals, developed and implemented guidelines for health and safety issues. Also, working in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC,) she helped with research for various vaccines.

Upon completion of her Peace Corps duties, Dr. Jemison returned to the United States, accepting a position with the CIGNA Health Plans of California as a general practitioner in Los Angeles. Having a desire to do more with her life, she enrolled in graduate classes in engineering and applied to NASA for admission to the astronaut program. She was turned down on her first application, but persevered and in 1987 was accepted on her second application. She became one of the 15 candidates accepted from over 2,000 applicants.

When Dr. Jemison successfully completed her astronaut training program in August 1988, she became the fifth black astronaut and the first black female astronaut in NASA history. Her technical assignments included: launch support activities at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida; verification of Shuttle computer software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL), and Science Support Group activities.

Dr. Jemison was the science mission specialist on STS-47 Spacelab-J (September 12-20, 1992). STS-47 was a cooperative mission between the United States and Japan. The eight-day mission was accomplished in 127 orbits of the Earth, and included 44 Japanese and U.S. life science and materials processing experiments. Dr. Jemison was a co-investigator on the bone cell research experiment flown on the mission. The Endeavour and her crew launched from and returned to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In completing her first space flight, Dr. Jemison logged 190 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds in space, making her the first African-American woman in space.

She says, “I had to learn very early not to limit myself due to others’ limited imaginations. I have learned these days never to limit anyone else due to my limited imagination.”

In 1993, Dr. Jemison resigned from NASA and founded the Jemison Group Inc. to research, develop and implement advanced technologies suited to the social, political, cultural and economic context of the individual, especially for the developing world. Current projects include: Alpha, a satellite-based telecommunication system to improve health care in West Africa; and The Earth We Share, an international science camp for students ages 12 to 16 that utilizes an experiential curriculum. Among her current projects are several that focus on improving healthcare in Africa. She is also a professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College.

Dr. Jemison is the host and a technical consultant to the "World of Wonders" series produced by GRB Entertainment and seen weekly on the Discovery Channel. She feels very honored by the establishment (1992) of the Mae C. Jemison Academy, an alternative public school in Detroit.

Awards and honors she has received include Essence Award (1988), Gamma Sigma Gamma Women of the Year (1989), Honorary Doctorate of Science, Lincoln College, Pa., (1991), Honorary Doctor of Letters, Winston-Salem, N.C., (1991), McCall's 10 Outstanding Women for the 90's (1991), Pumpkin Magazine's (a Japanese Monthly) One of the Women for the Coming New Century (1991), Johnson Publications Black Achievement Trailblazers Award (1992), Mae C. Jemison Science and Space Museum, Wright Jr. College, Chicago, (dedicated 1992), Ebony's 50 Most Influential Women (1993), Turner Trumpet Award (1993), and Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth (1993), Kilby Science Award (1993), Induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame (1993), People magazine's 1993 "50 Most Beautiful People in the World"; CORE Outstanding Achievement Award; and the National Medical Association Hall of Fame.

Dr. Jemison is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Science; Association of Space Explorers; honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; board of directors of Scholastic Inc.; board of directors of Houston's UNICEF; board of trustees Spelman College; board of directors Aspen Institute; board of directors Keystone Center; and the National Research Council Space Station Review Committee. She has presented at the United Nations and internationally on the uses of space technology, was the subject of a PBS Documentary, The New Explorers; Endeavor by Kurtis Production, and appeared in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Dr. Jemison's February 17 presentation at Clarkson is sponsored by SPECTRUM, a student-based organization at Clarkson whose mission is to inform, inspire, educate and entertain. For additional information, please email

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available at]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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