Dr. Mae C. Jemison, who as a NASA astronaut was the first African American woman in space, will deliver the Commencement address to the Bryn Mawr College Class of 2019 and degree candidates from its two graduate schools at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2019.
“Throughout her life, Mae Jemison has defied expectations. She is a physician and astronaut, scientist and dancer, professor and entrepreneur. Her career offers an inspiring example to our students of the power of defining their own sense of possibility and direction,” said Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy.
Jemison served six years as a NASA astronaut. She became the first African American woman in space on Sept. 12, 1992, as a mission specialist aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. Before joining NASA she was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia and a general practice physician in Los Angeles. After leaving NASA, she was a faculty member at Dartmouth from 1995-2002.
She is the founder of the Jemison Group, a technology consulting firm integrating critical socio-cultural issues into the design of engineering and science projects. She also founded The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence. Named after Jemison’s mother, the foundation develops and implements teaching methods, curricula, materials and programs that foster educational experiences resulting in individuals fully able to participate and contribute effectively and beneficially to society.
Jemison is Bayer Corporation USA’s national science literacy ambassador. She is one of the series hosts for National Geographic’s "One Strange Rock" and space operations advisor for its global miniseries "Mars."
Jemison is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and is on the boards of directors of Kimberly-Clark, the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, and the Texas Medical Center. She was the founding chair of the Texas State Product Development and Small Business Incubator Board, chair the Texas State Biotechnology and Life Sciences Industry Cluster, chair of the Greater Houston Partnership Disaster Planning and Recovery Task Force, and served on the board of Scholastic, Inc., and Valspar Corporation. Jemison is a inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the National Medical Association Hall of Fame and Texas Science Hall of Fame, International Space Hall of Fame, as well as a recipient of the National Organization for Women’s Intrepid Award, The Kilby Science Award, National Association of Corporate Directors’ Directorship 100 most influential people in the boardroom in 2014, and honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the New York Academy of Sciences, among many honors. Jemison earned a bachelor of science in chemical engineering and a bachelor of arts in African and African-American studies from Stanford University in 1977. She went on to earn her M.D. from Cornell University in 1981.