In 1992, Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel in space. As a crew member on Space Shuttle Endeavour, Jemison was a science mission specialist responsible for conducting experiments in life sciences and materials sciences. On top of that, she was also a co-investigator for a bone cell research project. In total, Jemison has logged 190 hours, 30 minutes, and 23 seconds in space. In the years since, she has written several books and appeared on many television programs, including an episode of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation.’ Jemison holds a medical degree and began her career as a general practitioner, then joining the Peace Corps as a medical officer and working in Sierra Leone and Liberia. In addition to her 9 honorary doctorates, Jemison has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and the International Space Hall of Fame.
Jemison was only 16 when she entered Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship. As she had been in high school, Jemison was very involved in extracurricular activities at Stanford, including dance and theater productions. She later served as president of the Black Student Union and choreographed a performing arts production called ‘Out of the Shadows’ about the African American experience. Jemison graduated in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering and a Bachelor of Arts degree in African and African American studies.
As part of the Stanford community, Jemison has returned to her alma mater on numerous occasions. Her groundbreaking experiences have made her an invaluable speaker for campus events. For instance, in 2014 Jemison spoke about her journey as a scholar, physician, and astronaut–as part of Stanford's 'Imagining the Universe: Cosmology in Art and Science' series. Previously, Jemison was invited to deliver the commencement address for Stanford in 1996. Taking the podium, she advised the students that it was important to focus on education, healthcare, and cooperation among diverse populations. “As participants on this planet," Jemison explained, "we all have responsibilities to each other."