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Mae Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American engineer, physician and NASA astronaut.
She became the first African-American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.
For me, I love the sciences and I also love the arts," says Jemison.
She is a dancer and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities.
After medical school and a brief general practice, Jemison served in the PeaceCorps from 1985 until 1987, when she was selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps.
She resigned from NASA in 1993 to found a company researching the application of technology to daily life.
Jemison says that as a young girl growing up in Chicago she always assumed she would get into space. People tried to explain that to me, and I did not buy it." Jemison says she was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.; to her King's dream was not an elusive fantasy but a call to action.
"I thought, by now, we'd be going into space like you were going to work." In her childhood, Jemison learned to make connections to science by studying nature. "Too often people paint him like Santa -- smiley and inoffensive," says Jemison.