Jemison says people often assume that she considers the space mission her proudest achievement, but she jokingly downplays her trip into space
Mae Jemison worked as a doctor and as the Peace Corps medical officer for Liberia and Sierra Leone. She has also been a college professor and started her own companies. She says people often assume that she considers the space mission her proudest achievement, but she jokingly downplays that trip. "Basically, you just sit on top of a rocket, and someone else pushes a button," Jemison said.
Jemison, who now lives in Houston, describes her experience as a doctor, scientist, astronaut, entrepreneur, teacher and one-time aspiring dancer. To succeed, she says, the students have to sidestep mental obstacles and not conform to other people's expectations. Jemison can remember looking up to the stars as a child and deciding that one day she would go into space, even as the National Guard patrolled her South Side Chicago neighborhood to quell urban unrest in the late 1960s. The day came on Sept. 12, 1992, when Jemison rode aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor and became the first black woman to go into space. But back in 1968, none of the astronauts looked like her, and the times were turbulent, but she still dreamed. "When I talk about optimism, that young girl is the most important, cherished part of me," she said. "She's my hero." Read more.
As a Peace Corps Medical Officer, Jemison once ordered the evacuation of a volunteer to Germany saving his life
"In the early 1980's, I served as a doctor for Peace Corps volunteers in Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa. Within the first two weeks I was there, a volunteer got sick. Another doctor diagnosed malaria, but after the man had been on chloroquine for 24 hours, it didn't look like that to me. He got progressively worse, and at 2 a.m., after a power failure in the hospital, I started rummaging around our medical unit with a flashlight to find antibiotics for a broad-based medical cocktail."
"I was sure it was meningitis with life-threatening complications that we could not treat successfully in Sierra Leone, so finally, I called for a military medical evacuation on an Air Force hospital plane based in Germany. Just to start the process cost $80,000. When I gave the order, the U.S. Embassy personnel just looked at me. I was 26."
"They started questioning whether I had the authority to give such an order. Yet, after being up for 36 hours — familiar territory for a former Los Angeles County hospital intern — I was very calm and knew what the issues were. I patiently told them I didn't need anyone's permission or concurrence. By the time we reached the Air Force hospital in Germany, I had stayed up with that patient for 56 hours. Of course, he survived." Read more.
Mae Jemison wears red for charity
New York Fashion Week opened amid an international debate about too-thin models, yet the first major runway show of the event featured women of all shapes, sizes, ages and colours. And the crowd loved it. That first show on the catwalks at Bryant Park was the Heart Truth show, an annual event in which celebrities wear red dresses created for them by famous designers. Heart Truth is part of the Red Dress project, a federal initiative spearheaded by Laura Bush, to raise awareness about heart disease. Read more.
Caption: Mae Jemison, wearing Lyn Devon, walks the runway at the Red Dress Heart Truth fashion show during Fall 2007 Fashion Week in New York on Friday, Feb 2, 2007.(Fashion Wire Daily/Gruber)