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Dr. Mae C. Jemison

First African American Woman in Space to Speak at ECU Voyages of Discovery Lecture

East Carolina University soon will begin the 2012-13 season of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. The series opens on Sept. 5 with a University Lecture Celebrating Diversity. Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first African American female to travel to space, will discuss “Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Human Potential,” at 7 p.m. in Wright Auditorium.

Jemison, founder and president of two medical technology companies, received her doctoral degree in medicine from Cornell University in 1981, and her Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering and Bachelor of Arts in African and Afro-American Studies from Stanford University in 1977.

In June of 1987, Jemison became the first African American woman admitted into the astronaut-training program at NASA. After more than a year of training, she became a mission specialist and performed assignments that included launch support activities at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, verification of Shuttle computer software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory and science support group activities.

On September 12, 1992, Jemison became the first African American woman to travel to space. She flew into space aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on mission STS-47, which was a cooperative mission between the United States and Japan. The eight-day mission was accomplished in 127 orbits of the Earth, and included 44 life science and materials processing experiments. Jemison was a co-investigator on the bone cell research experiment conducted during the mission. Upon completing her first space flight, Jemison logged more than 190 hours in space.

In recognition of her accomplishments, Jemison has received nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters and the humanities. Amongst her many professional affiliations, Jemison is a member of the American Chemical Society; the Association for the Advancement of Science; and the Association of Space Explorers. She is an honorary member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She has served as a board member on the World Sickle Cell Foundation and as an honorary board member of the Center for the Prevention of Childhood Malnutrition.

After leaving the astronaut corps in March 1993, Jemison accepted a teaching fellowship at Dartmouth. She also established the Jemison Group, a company that researches, develops and markets advanced technologies.

Cosponsors of the University Lecture Celebrating Diversity include the ECU Space Grant Project; the Division of Health Sciences; Joyner Library; the Ledonia Wright Cultural Center; the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Relations; and Go-Science, an eastern North Carolina organization fostering science awareness and knowledge.

Complimentary tickets are available to ECU students, faculty and staff members with a valid ECU ID. Tickets are $10 for the general public. For tickets, call the ECU Central Ticket Office at 252-328-4788 or 1-800-ECU-ARTS. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.

The Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series advances the spirit of exploration and discovery that is the hallmark of the liberal arts. Since its inception, it has featured speakers of international renown addressing compelling issues facing humanity.

The lecture series is made possible through contributions from Harriot College’s Dean’s Advancement Council, various university organizations, and many friends and supporters. To make a contribution, or for additional information, contact Dr. John A. Tucker, director of the lecture series, at 252-328-1028 or tuckerjo@ecu.edu, or visit the series’ website at www.ecu.edu/voyages.