Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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A stellar career

NASA star to speak at Wheaton’s Ruby lecture

Dr. Mae Jemison, a renowned physician, former NASA astronaut, and the first African American woman to travel into space, will come to Wheaton College to share her experiences on Feb. 24, 2011, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hindle Auditorium in the Science Center as a part of the Jane E. Ruby Humanities Lecture series.

This lecture series was established in 1993 by a bequest from the estate of Jane E. Ruby, professor of history emerita, former provost and Wheaton honorary degree recipient. Each year the lecture series brings prominent speakers to campus. After the lecture, there will be a reception and book signing in the Science Center lobby.

In addition to being part of the NASA team, Jemison is a former Peace Corps medical officer and founder of two technological firms. Originally from Chicago, she is an inductee of the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the National Medical Association Hall of Fame and has received many other honors.

In 1987, she became the first woman of color to go into space aboard the Endeavour, a cooperative mission with Japan. As NASA’s first space mission specialist, she spent the eight-day mission conducting experiments in life science, including bone-cell research and human adaptation to weightlessness.

She is a highly praised speaker on health care, social responsibility, and technology. She earned a degree in chemical engineering at Stanford, as well as the equivalent to an A.B. degree in African and Afro-American studies, and earned her doctorate in medicine at Cornell University.

Before joining NASA, she worked as the main overseer of the Peace Corps’ healthcare systems in Sierra Leone and Liberia. She was a professor of environmental studies at Dartmouth College, and an A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. She also founded The Earth We Share, a science camp for teens interested in solving current environmental problems.

In addition to all of this, she is the founder and president of two medical technology companies, The Jemison Group and Biosentient, which focus on the socio-cultural impact of technology and the improvement of human health.

“It is important for scientists to be aware of what our discoveries mean, socially and politically. It's a noble goal that science should be apolitical, acultural and asocial, but it can't be, because it's done by people who are all those things,” she has said in the past.