Learn More About Mae Jemison Through Orchard's "People Project"

The “People Project” is not just a reflection on Black History Month, but rather a way to illuminate important Black voices whose stories go unheard. It is important for us to become familiar with more names, learn about more people, and get others talking about the significant work that so many have done and/or are still doing to promote and move forward the work of social justice. 

The more we learn, the more we can uplift accomplishments and acknowledge the contributions to our greater society by so many who have come before and walk with us today. The “People Project” will feature those who have changed ways of thinking, paved the way for others, and fight for what they stand for. Black History Month was the perfect time to launch the “People Project.” We are excited to continue this project throughout the remainder of the year as we will highlight other important voices in the months to follow. 

-Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lisa Pryor


Mae Jemison grew up in Chicago, Illinois and from a young age showed interest in the science fields. She graduated high school at sixteen and went right into more studies at Stanford University. At Stanford she earned degrees in chemical engineering and African American studies, graduating in 1977.

From here she went on to attend medical school at Cornell University where she studied internal medicine. Mae volunteered at refugee camps in Cambodia and went on to study in Kenya. She spent a short time as a general practitioner before becoming a medical officer for the Peace Corps in West Africa. Jemison took part in different research projects during her time with the Peace Corps including the team that worked with the CDC to help develop a vaccine for hepatitis B.

After some time she left this field of work to pursue her dream to be an astronaut. She first started working at the Kennedy Space Center as an office representative helping process shuttles and their software. She also took part in the United States first successful space mission with Japan. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to be an astronaut and go into space. She was a part of the space mission Endeavor in 1992. After leaving life as an astronaut she founded the Jemison Group, which helps with technology developments and TEWS, a science camp for kids. 

CLICK HERE to read the previous post about Hank Aaron.


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